Legal News & Articles
Unfair Debt Collection
Are you being harassed by Debt Collectors? If so, here is what you need to know to proect yourself—You have rights!
The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Debt Collection Regulations, and the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers against invasion of privacy, abuse, debt collection harassment and other wrongful conduct exerted by debt collectors and creditors.
The first thing you need to know is who is calling you, a creditor or a debt collector. A creditor is the person who lends you money, the debt collector is the individual or company hired by your creditor to collect over due payments. Debt collectors are held to a higher standard and are subject to certain statutory penalties.
Debt collectors do not have the right to call you continuously and harass you for money. Nor do they have the right to bully or be abusive towards you. You have the right to stop a debt collector from calling you. To stop a debt collector from contacting you, send the debt collector a certified letter, requesting a return receipt, instructing the debt collector to cease further contact with you. If the debt collector continues to contact you after you have received confirmation that they have received your letter (i.e., green card from post office) the debt collector will be breaking the law allowing you the right to sue the debt collector to recover damages.
Debt collectors can not lie to you or make false and/or misleading statements in an attempt to get you to pay a debt. Debt collectors cannot disclose to other people (with the exception of your spouse) that you owe a debt. This is a serious invasion of privacy and actionable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If your debt is turned over to a law firm that brings a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, you have the right to seek information through formal discovery (i.e., legal process pursuant to applicable rules) to determine, among other things, who the creditor is (often times your credit card lender has been bought out), how the amount of the debt was calculated and whether or not you are actually the person that owes the debt.
If you have been the victim of unfair debt collection practices, or if you have been served with a complaint to collect on an unpaid debt, contact one of our litigation attorneys to explore your rights and options.