For those that are in over their head with debt, it can be very overwhelming and potentially intimidating. You will be dealing with people that call you or send you letters about getting back the money they are owed. It can even progress into having debt collectors visit your home, which can be very concerning. Debt collectors do have legal boundaries they should not cross thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you're in the process of a sorting out your debts, knowing those boundaries can help you deal with the people that want your money. Here is what you need to know.
Debt Collectors Are Not Law Enforcement
A debt collector doesn't actually have any legal authority when it comes to law enforcement. They are not allowed to show up to your home and verbally threaten you, and they cannot have you arrested. Debts are not criminal matters, but civil matters. You have rights that cannot be violated by debt collectors, even if they try to tell you otherwise.
Debt Collectors Must Show Identification
If someone does show up to your home trying to claim a debt, they must give you proper identification so that you know who they are and what company they are from. If they do not identify themselves, you do not have to respond to anything that they say to you. If a debt collector will not leave your private property at your request, you can call the police so that they can be removed from it.
Debt Collectors Shouldn't Misrepresent Themselves
A debt collector must not misrepresent themselves in any interaction they have with you. This may happen if they claim to work for the company you owe money to, but they actually work for a debt collection service. It would be very rare for a company to have an internal debt collection service, so be skeptical if someone says they are employed for the company directly. This is because it makes more sense to use a debt collection service in exchange for a percentage of the debt received if they are able to collect it.
Debt Collectors Must Honor Your Personal Contact Requests
While a debt collector can legally visit you at home, you can legally restrict them from doing so. Make sure to give them a written notice that you do not want anybody coming to your home or place of employment. You may be able to take legal action against a debt collector that violates your request.
These tips should help you deal with debt collectors while you figure out how you're going to take care of the situation. Consider hiring a local bankruptcy attorney, like http://www.tblakelaw.com, that can help you sort out your finances and start over again.