Know your rights: what is and isn't legal for debt collectors to do during pandemic

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 4:59 PM CDT
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Although we've had some positive news Friday about the economy and jobs, many families are still scurrying to provide for their families.

Consumer rights advocate Jarred Johnson joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Friday to talk about what is and isn't legal for debt collectors to do during the pandemic.

“Debt collectors are prohibited from collecting debt in any unfair or unconscionable means. They’re also not allowed to lie to you in word or in writing. If they write a letter to you that is untrue, they’re not allowed to do that. That’s a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” Johnson explained.

He added that debt collectors are also not allowed to call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

“All debt collectors must document and provide a letter in the mail for every single debt they’re trying to collect,” he added. “In fact, if they don’t provide a letter in five days of the first phone call you receive, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.”

Debt collectors must also mark on your credit report if you are disputing the debt.

“They also like to call third parties on a regular basis to try and collect debt. They like to call friends, relatives and neighbors to try to intimidate you or scare you into contacting them. They’re not really allowed to call third parties for debt collection purposes. They are allowed to contact third parties for location information only, but that doesn’t apply anymore if they already know where you are.”

Johnson said if a debt collector already has your location and they’re calling your relatives, friends or co-workers, you have a great case.

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