Debt Collectors: What Can They Do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

Nobody likes to be reminded of their debt. Yet if the issue becomes uncontrollable and a debt collector is called into action, it will be a common occurrence. This is because they will be regularly in touch, trying to get you to pay off your outstanding balance.

This can have a significantly detrimental effect on mental health. Yet it is a problem that many different people face – statistics suggest the average American resident has close to $40,000 in personal debt.

If you are having any problems with debt collectors – or envision this being a concern in the near future – it’s important to know what action they can take against you.

What they cannot do

Before looking at what a debt collector can do, it’s important to know what is outside their wheelhouse.

Here’s a quick rundown of what they are not allowed to do:

  • Harass you with repeated calls, abusive language, and threats of violence

  • Attempt to arrest you due to the debt

  • Call whenever they want. They are only allowed to get in touch between 8am and 9pm

  • Visit you at your workplace

Now that’s out of the way, below is what a debt collector is legally allowed to do.

  • Put the pressure on

    While it’s true they cannot threaten or mislead you, debt collectors are free to apply daily pressure in their attempt to collect payment. They can send out frequent letters, make daily calls, and signal their intention of going the lawsuit route if you fail to settle the debt.

  • Sue you

    As mentioned previously, a debt collector is within their right to fire a lawsuit your way. This is usually a last-ditch effort from the collector to get the money, but it could pay off for them – with added interest and other fees possibly added to the debt if they win the case.

    If you do face an issue like this, it’s essential to receive debt lawsuit consumer protection expertise. A proficient debt lawyer will consult you on which steps to take to get the best result.

  • Be willing to negotiate

    Even if they are chasing you up with an aggressive approach, this doesn’t mean a debt collector isn’t willing to sit down and negotiate your debt. Typically a collector will purchase the debt from the original creditor, doing so for a fraction of what the debt is worth.

    As a result, they have plenty of flexibility to negotiate. Even if the debt is reduced by, say, 30%, there will still be plenty of profit in it for the collector.

  • Chase you up about expired debt

    Thanks to the statute of limitations, you can have unsecured debts – such as medical bills and credit cards – that are deemed “expired.” This means that, after a certain period of time, you cannot be sued for the debt.

With that said, this doesn’t necessarily mean the debt is gone from your life. A debt collector can still chase you up for a payment on your old financial obligations.

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