Know Your Rights Regarding Debt Collection

debt collector phone callIt’s uncanny how the simple sound of a phone ringing can induce anxiety in someone who owes a debt. Is the person on the other end of the line going to be unpleasant, demanding, or just plain rude? Will they make threats? Will someone show up at the door? In the United States, the average household owes 15,611 dollars in credit card debt, plus another 155,192 dollars in mortgage debt. Those with student loans owe a whopping 32,264 dollars, and the total amount Americans owe to creditors is rising. Of course, almost nobody enters into these arrangements anticipating problems, but illness, job loss, divorce, and other life changes can make it impossible to keep up. However, even those with looming or unpaid debts retain certain rights, and if you’re stuck in a difficult situation, you deserve to know what those rights are.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

When difficult and unreasonable creditors became a major problem in the United States, the government stepped in with new policies. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) entitles everyone to fair treatment, and sets limitations on the actions of collection agencies. Although it covers a lot of ground, some of the most notable aspects of the Act are detailed below.

1. Debt collectors cannot call at an unusual or inconvenient hours. Although regulations stipulate the hours between 8pm and 9am are not appropriate times to call without consent, they also allow for non-contact during other periods of the day by personal preference, such as during the business day.
2. Privacy and discretion are expected. Collections letters must come in unmarked envelopes to protect privacy. Equally, creditors are not permitted to contact friends, family, employers, or other third-parties regarding the debt.
3. Harassment is not tolerated. Repeated contacts, calls at inconvenient hours, rude language, and threats of violence are unlawful; creditors who employ these techniques may face consequences.
4. Creditors may not contact someone who has obtained legal representation. Once an agency is informed that the individual has hired an attorney, they must cease all contact with him, and communicate only via the lawyer.

How Courts Handle Casino Debts

Money owed to casinos is handled slightly differently by the courts. People who owe casinos usually do so because they took out a line of credit and signed a marker in exchange for chips. This marker is similar to a bank check, in terms of expectations. Casinos only permit them if they believe the individual has the funds to cover the marker, and the borrower is expected to repay the casino within a short period of time. If a borrower defaults, the casino can make attempts to recover the debts, though restrictions apply as to how they may do so. Casino debts are generally not discharged by the courts, though if an attorney can show that the casino had reason to believe the borrower was unable to repay the marker at the time credit was extended, it may be deemed unlawful, and can be discharged. There are additional nuances in the law which may provide respite from casino debts, so people in these situations should consult with an experienced attorney for help.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights

If you’d like to put an end to harassment from creditors, we can help. Please contact the bankruptcy lawyers at Villani & DeLuca P.C. at 888-389-9533 for a free consultation.