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How Do Your Experiences with Debt Collectors Compare to National Survey?

January 12th, 2017 · No Comments · Debt Collection

by Staff

How Do Your Experiences with Debt Collectors Compare to National SurveyIf you’ve been contacted by a debt collector within the past 12 months, a national survey — the first of its kind, actually — should interest you. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked consumers nationwide about their experiences with debt collectors over the past 12 months. Here’s what they found out.

Threatening behavior

27 percent of consumers contacted by debt collectors felt threatened by them.

It is illegal for debt collectors to use abusive or profane language. It also illegal for them to threaten arrest or legal action that cannot be taken.

Failing to cease communication

40 percent of consumers contacted about a debt said collectors continued to contact them about the debt after they were asked to stop.

If you want a debt collector to stop contacting you, send a letter requesting that they cease and desist all further contact with you. Though you still owe the debt, it is illegal from that point on for the debt collector to continue contacting you about it.

Incorrect information

53 percent of consumers contacted about a debt said that something about the debt being collected on was inaccurate. Most commonly, they were trying to collect on the wrong amount, on a debt that had already been paid, or on a debt owed by a family member.

If a debt collector is using inaccurate information to collect on a debt from you, write them a letter informing them of it. And even if the debt looks right to you, it’s important to be sure the collection agency contacting you has the right to collect on it. So as soon as you receive the initial notice from them, write the collection agency a letter asking for debt validation.

Calling at the wrong times

36 percent of consumers contacted about a debt said collectors tried contacting them between 9 pm and 8 am. Those times are off-limits to debt collectors.

By law, they should only contact you between 8 am and 9 pm.

Excessive contact

37 percent of consumers contacted about a debt said debt collectors attempted contact 4 or more times a week. 20 percent said 4 to 7 times a week. And 17 percent said 8 or more times a week.

Though there is no law stating how many times a debt collector can contact you over the course of a week, they are prohibited from repeatedly calling just to harass you. If you feel the contact is excessive, consider the cease and desist request referenced in the “Failing to cease communication” section above.

Lawsuits

15 percent of consumers contacted about a debt said they were sued by a collector.

Unfortunately, only 25 percent of consumers sued for debts actually show up to the court hearing. This usually means an automatic ruling in the collector’s favor. Here’s the right way to handle it if you are being sued for an unpaid debt.

Think Your Rights Have Been Violated?

Learn more about your debt collection rights. If you think they have been violated, submit a complaint to the CFPB. You may also wish to consult with an attorney about taking legal action.

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