Are you contacted by a debt collector? Know your rights. 6 things consumers should know.


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Consumers facing debt collection now enjoy additional protections under federal and state laws.

These rules also require debt collectors to provide consumers with detailed information about the origin and history of the debt they are seeking to collect.

Are you contacted by a debt collector? Know your rights. Below are some things you need to know:

1. RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

Debt collectors must provide you with key information about your debt within five days of first contacting you.

It usually includes the name of the business or person you originally owed debt to, the date and amount of the original debt, as well as a breakdown of any charges, interest, payments, and credits that were added or deducted. of the initial debt.

2. RIGHT TO CHALLENGE THE DEBT

You have the right to dispute the debt. The validation notice should include information on how you can dispute the debt. Click here for a model letter of protest available from the CFPB.

Once you dispute a debt, the collector must stop all attempts to collect from you until they provide information to support their claim.

3. DEBT COLLECTORS HAVE LIMITS ON HOW AND FREQUENCY TO CONTACT YOU

Limits have been put in place to avoid harassment by debt collectors:

Debt collectors cannot call you more than seven times in a seven day period.

They must wait seven days before calling back after contacting you by phone.

Debt collectors cannot call you between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. in your current time zone.

You have the right to tell debt collectors not to contact you by email, text or any other means of communication, and you can tell them not to contact you at all.

Typically, they can’t try to reach you at your work email address, through a social media post, or through third parties, such as friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers.

Debt collectors cannot contact you at your workplace if your employer prohibits such contact.

You can also tell a debt collector that you can’t take calls at work.

4. CONTACT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

Debt collectors cannot contact you through a public social media post. However they must follow certain rules if they contact you via social networks:

The messages they send to you must be private and not visible to the general public or to your friends, contacts or subscribers.

If a debt collector tries to send you a private message asking you to add yourself as a friend or contact, they should identify themselves as a debt collector.

They should also provide you, in each post, with an easy way to opt out of receiving further communications from them on this social media platform.

5. YOU CANNOT BE PROSECUTED FOR OLD DEBTS

Debt collectors are required to inform you, before accepting payment from you, if they contact you about a debt that exceeds the time limit for bringing legal action:

After April 7, 2022: Creditors cannot sue you or threaten to sue you for debt that is more than three years old; and

Until April 7, 2022: Creditors cannot sue you or threaten to sue you for debts older than six years. This period can be even shorter if the original company or person to whom you owed the debt is incorporated or has its registered office in a state with a shorter period.

6. CHECK THE LAW IN YOUR STATE

Each state could have additional rights for consumers facing debt collection lawsuits. Click on your state below to learn more.


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