I ordered the 2008 Consumer Action Handbook mid last year, and sort of tossed it to the side once it arrived. Yesterday, while organizing part of the office, I found it again and started to thumb through. You know, this book has a LOT of great information in it.
It’s got extensive information regarding credit, debt, employment, education, nutrition, government agencies, and about a thousand other things that the consumer probably has no idea is available for free for the asking. So, get yours for free from the Consumer Action Website – Federal Citizens Information Center
Since our family just finished the Debt Snowball lesson of Financial Peace university, and Dave Ramsey talks a lot about illegal collections practices by collections companies, I wanted to share an excerpt from the Consumer Action Handbook outlining this act.
Dealing With Debt
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to those who collect debts owed to creditors for personal, family, and household debts. These include car loans, mortgages, charge accounts, and money owed for medical bills. A debt collector is someone hired to collect money you owe.
Within five days after a debt collector first contacts you, the collector must send you a notice that tells you the name of the creditor, how much you owe, and what action to take if you believe you don’t owe the money.
If you owe the money or part of it, contact the creditor to arrange for payment.
If you believe you don’t owe the money, contact the creditor in writing and send a copy to the collection agency with a letter telling them not to contact you. A debt collector may not:
- Contact you at unreasonable times, for example, before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree
- Contact you at work if you tell the debt collector your employer disapproves
- Contact you after you write a letter telling them to stop, except to notify you if the collector or creditor plans to take a specific action
- Contact your friends, relatives, employer or others, except to find out where you live and work
- Harass you through threats to harm you, profane language or repeated telephone calls
- Make any false statement, or claim that you will be arrested
- Threaten to have money deducted from your paycheck or sue you, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so and it is legal.
To file a complaint, contact your state or local consumer protection agency and the Federal Trade Commission.
Have creditors abused these laws when attempting to collect a debt from you? Contact the FTC and the consumer protection agency in your area.