It only takes a few missed days of work, a sudden illness or other unexpected expense to put you behind on your bills. Especially if you have credit cards, financed vehicles, personal loans or other monthly payments, a missing paycheck or an emergency expense can result in all kinds of issues. Once you miss a payment, you're hit with fees. Then, perhaps you're over the limit with that fee, so that's another fee. Even when fees aren't the problem, you may not have the money to catch up on what you owe.
That's when the calls start. At first, you get a few letters and a few calls while you're home. You try to explain, and then you probably decide to ignore them. Debt collectors are notoriously resourceful and dogged in their pursuit of payment. If they can't reach you at home, they will try other places. That includes your work. Is there anything more embarrassing than a call from a debt collector in front of your boss and co-workers? Worse, it could result in a write-up or other disciplinary action at work.
There are legal limits to what debt collectors can do
Did you know that debt collectors can't just call you whenever and wherever they want. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) places strict limits on how collectors can contact you. For example, they can't call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without explicit permission to do so. They are not allowed to harass you, threaten you, publish your name in any manner to shame you, swear at you or use phone calls to intentionally annoy you.
When it comes to phone calls at work, there are limits to that as well. Debt collectors are allowed to try to reach you at work unless you tell them they can not. If you inform them that you are not allowed to take personal calls at work, which is a common policy, they must stop calling your work number. You should make a note of each call you receive, including the date, time and name of the debt collector. Make a note of when you ask them to stop. Repeat the request in writing if it is not respected the first time.
You can push back against aggressive and illegal debt collection
You don't have to suffer in anxiety and frustration while debt collectors hassle and bully you. If debt collectors are making your life miserable, inform yourself about fair debt collection practices and stand up for your rights. You can even consider taking civil action against companies or collectors who repeatedly violate your rights or the law with their practices.