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Debt Collectors on the Rampage!

More consumers are finding themselves the target of aggressive agents who don't always play by the rules. Here's what you need to know:


What's prohibited:

Debt collectors cannot use threats of violence or harm, publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, use obscene or profane language, or repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.

False statements
Debt collectors cannot falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives, falsely imply that you have committed a crime, falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau, misrepresent the amount you owe, indicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not, or indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are.

Unfair practices
Debt collectors cannot collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits it; deposit a post-dated check prematurely; use deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams; take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally; or contact you by postcard.

Source: Federal Trade Commission
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