Being in debt can leave just about anyone stressed; especially when the debt is so overwhelming that it affects your day-to-day living. When you fall behind on your bills, you may find yourself being contacted by debt collectors. Although these companies can be pretty aggressive, it is important that you recognize that there are consumer protection laws in place to help keep you safe from unfair debt collection practices.
One way the law seeks to protect you is by forcing debt collectors to notify you of and validate the debt they are trying to collect. Although many debt collectors will initially contact you by phone, they must follow that initial contact with a written notice within five days that details the debt.
The specific information that must be included in this notice is the value of the debt and the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed. Additionally, the document must notify the debtor that if the debt is not challenged within 30 days, then it will be considered valid. The debtor must also be informed that he or she has the right to request contact information for the original creditor in the event that a new creditor now holds the debt.
If you write to the debt collection agency and request information for the original creditor or you challenge the validity of the debt, then all debt collection actions must cease until all relevant information is provided to the debtor. Therefore, those who have been notified of a debt to be collected should consider requesting as much information as they can, not only because it is important to be as informed as possible but also because it may buy them more time to pay the debt off.
No one should be treated unfairly by debt collectors. Yet, it happens all the time. If you are struggling with overwhelming debt and are being harassed by creditors, it might be time for you to speak with a legal professional, as there may be options available to you to stop the harassment and find the debt relief you deserve.