Over the last two years and now with the holiday season in full swing, many people have fallen behind on everything from credit card to car loan to mortgage payments. When that happens, businesses often sell their delinquent receivables to a debt collection company.
While it can be frustrating and scary to fall behind in payments, when calls from collection agencies start, it adds a new level of stress. Don’t panic. Instead, understand what rights you have as a consumer, learn what collection agencies can and cannot do, then take steps to resolve the issue.
Debt Collection Process Rules in Place to Protect Consumers
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in the United States. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when trying to collect debt.
The FDCPA considers anyone who regularly collects debts owed to others as a debt collector. This means collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts, and companies that buy debts and then try to collect them are all covered.
The FDCPA applies to personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on credit cards, auto loans, medical bills, and your mortgage. It does not apply to debts incurred running a business.
When a debt collector calls, they must follow up within five days with a written “validation…