LawCall™ is a weekly, thirty minute call-in show about legal topics of interest. Each week, we discuss personal injury, auto accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, slip and fall, DUI accidents and birth injuries, as well as bankruptcy, family law, divorce, landlord and tenant law, dangerous and defective products, legislative matters, and current issues in the legal world. We take your calls LIVE every Sunday at 11:35pm. Call us at 1-877-525-LAWS (5297) during the show.
This Week On LawCall™ — Dealing With Debt Collectors
Are you deep in debt? Are you being harassed by debt collectors at all hours? The average American family owes over fifteen thousand dollars in credit card debt alone. For millions of Americans, it’s only a matter of time before the debt collectors start calling. That’s when things can get really ugly. Many debt collectors use aggressive or abusive language. They call early in the morning or late at night. They track you down at work to continue the harassment.
Does this sound unfair? Well, it’s also illegal under federal law. Unfortunately, many consumers aren’t aware of their rights. If you have a question about dealing with debt collectors, you need to tune in to LawCall™ this Sunday, when Tallahassee personal injury attorney Dana Brooks and her guest, David Abrams, will be talking about your rights in the workplace.
If you need to know how to shut down pushy debt collectors, give us a call this Sunday on LawCall™. The law is on your side.
A debt collector keeps calling me at all hours of the day. Can they do that?
No. A debt collector may not contact you before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it. And, if you tell a debt collector that you’re not allowed to get phone calls at work, they may not contact you there. When they contact you, it is against the law for a debt collector to threaten or harass you.
What if I don’t think I owe any money? Can a debt collector keep calling me?
Maybe. A debt collector has to stop contacting you if you send them a letter saying you don’t owe them the money, or if you ask for verification of the debt. However, if the debt collector sends you verification, then they can start calling (or emailing, or texting) you again.
A debt collector is prohibited by law from doing many things in an attempt to collect a debt, including:
- Threaten to hurt you or any member of your family.
- Use obscenities.
- Lie. About anything.
- Claim that they work for the government, or are an attorney (unless they actually are an attorney).
- Tell you you’ll be arrested.
What can I do if I think the debt collector broke the law?
You can sue the debt collector (but within a limited time frame) if you think they broke the law. If you win, the debt collector could face several penalties, including having to pay you up to $1000. If you can prove damages from their activities, such as lost wages or medical bills, they can be ordered to pay that as well. Finally, they might have to pay your attorney’s fees and court costs.
However, your debt is not invalidated if the debt collector is found to be in violation of the law.
What should I do if a debt collector sues me?
If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, you should seek representation immediately.
The personal injury attorneys at Tallahassee law firm Barrett, Fasig & Brooks can help you if you have been injured, or if you need an attorney in another practice area of law, such as labor law or criminal law. For over 30 years, Barrett, Fasig & Brooks has been a part of the legal community in Tallahassee and North Florida, and we have developed excellent relationships with lawyers in all practice areas. We will refer you to an attorney that we would use ourselves, and would recommend to a friend or family member. Give us a call at (850) 224-3310. An attorney is always available, day or night, weekday or weekend, to take your call.
LawCall™ features Tallahassee personal injury attorneys, Vinse Barrett, Jimmy Fasig, Dana Brooks, and Mark Nonni, plus guest attorneys from across North Florida who answer your questions on a different legal topic every Sunday. Long-time newscaster Frank Ranicky anchors the program.