If you are behind in paying your bills, you can expect to hear from a debt collector. A debt collector is someone, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to someone else. Lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis are considered debt collectors, too.
What You Need to Know
You have rights: Federal law requires that debt collectors treat you fairly. In short, that means:
- A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax, but may not contact you at inconvenient times or places – for example, before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m – unless you agree. A debt collector may not contact you at work if the collector is aware that your employer prohibits it.
- If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people only to find out your address, your phone number, and where you work.
- A debt collector may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact about you.
- A debt collector may not lie or mislead anyone when collecting a debt.