Debt Relief

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Any person that uses credit cards, owe money on a personal loan, or pays a home mortgage is a “debtor.” Taking loans and making payments has become a standard practice among homebuyers, people looking to purchase a car, or attending college or university. When a person falls behind in repaying his or her creditors or has an error in their accounts, they may be contacted by a “debt collector.” When this happens, generally most people tend to become very distraught and undergo a lot of anxiety and anguish. To alleviate this kind of anxiety, it is very helpful, empowering, and educational to know what your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debts that are covered include personal, family, and household debts. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for charge accounts. Debt collectors are people that regularly collect debts owed by other people and they can include attorneys. Debt collectors frequently contacted people in person, or via telephone, fax, or mail. Under the Act, a debt collector can only contact you between regular hours from 8am-9pm. Any other times are strictly prohibited unless the person gives permission to the debt collector to contact them. Also debt collectors cannot contact you at work unless you give them permission. Debt collectors can be prevented from contacting people if the person in reference, writes a letter requesting that the collector stop contacting them. Once the collector receives the letter, they may not contact the person again except to say there will be no further contact or to notify the person that the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action. Writing a letter of course, does not eliminate the debt. It only eliminates any harassment incurred from creditors or debt collectors. A debt collector can also contact the attorney of the person involved and also investigate the person’s background further, to obtain information such as the telephone number, the residence, and place of employment of the person concerned. Debt collectors are allowed to contact such third parties one time and are prohibited from further intrusions upon the said person’s privacy.

Within five days after the person is first contacted regarding their debt, the collector must send the person a written notice telling them specifically how much money they owe, the name of the creditor to whom they owe this money; as well as what action to take if the person does not believe that they owe this money. A debt collector is also by law, not able to contact the person again, if within thirty days of receiving the written notice, the person writes a letter stating that they do not owe the money. A debt collector can renew collection activities if they are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.

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