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Debt Collections - Communications

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Friday, December 04, 2015



Debt Collections - Communications
Debt Collection

Communications by businesses or hired companies attempting to collect debts must follow certain rules set forth by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p), or suffer damages that may include an amount even greater than the debt, plus attorney’s fees and costs. As you can imagine, the Act is extensive but this article will touch on the area of communications with “consumers” only. For purposes of the act, a “consumer” is the debtor, spouse, parent (in the case of a minor), guardian, executor or administrator.

First, without prior consent from the debtor or the appropriate court, you cannot communicate with the consumer at any unusual or inconvenient time or place or a time. A convenient time is normally assumed to be with between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM.

Second, you should not directly communicate with a consumer represented by an attorney regarding the debt, unless the attorney doesn’t respond within a reasonable time or consents to your direct communication with the debtor.

Third, you should not communicate with the consumer at his/her place of employment if you know or have reason to know that the employer prohibits such communication.

Fourth, you should not communicate with third parties without the prior consent of the consumer or permission by the appropriate court or as is reasonably necessary to use a post-judgment remedy.

Fifth, you must stop communications with the consumer if the consumer notifies you in writing to stop further communications, except:
- To tell the consumer that further efforts are being terminated;
- To tell the consumer that you may invoke specified remedies that are normally invoked;
- To tell the consumer that you intend to use a specified remedy.
(The consumer’s mailed notification is complete upon your receipt.)

DO’S AND DON’TS

DO understand that a “consumer” includes the debtor, spouse, parent (in the case of a minor), guardian, executor or administrator.

DON’T contact the consumer at any unusual place or time, unless you receive prior consent from him/her or from the appropriate court.

DON’T directly communicate with a consumer represented by an attorney regarding the debt, unless the attorney doesn’t respond within a reasonable time or consents to your direct communication with the debtor.

DON’T communicate with the consumer at his/her place of employment if you know or have reason to know that the employer prohibits such communication.

DON’T communicate with third parties without the prior consent of the consumer or permission by the appropriate court or as is reasonably necessary to use a post-judgment remedy.

DON’T communicate with the consumer if the consumer notifies you in writing to stop further communications, except:
- To tell the consumer that further efforts are being terminated;
- To tell the consumer that you may invoke specified remedies that are normally invoked;
- To tell the consumer that you intend to use a specified remedy.

DO understand that the consumer’s mailed notification is complete upon your receipt.

By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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