What are consumer rights with debt collector communication?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2018 | consumer fraud |

When an Illinois resident is in debt and falls behind on the payments, it is to be expected that the creditors will make contact to try and collect. This can be the most overwhelming and intimidating aspects of the entire situation. However, debtors should remember their consumer rights against unfair debt collection and realize that if those rights are violated, the could have a legal claim for compensation. At the very least, they should assert federal law to protect themselves from various illegal acts on the part of creditors and debt collectors. Communication with the consumer is a key part of that.

A debt collector is not legally able to communicate with a consumer regarding a debt at an unusual time or location that is known to be inconvenient. If the debt collector is unaware of the time and place being inconvenient, there will be an assumption that the time at which it is convenient to communicate will not be before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. where the consumer is located. If the debt collector is aware that the debtor has legal representation regarding the debt and can, with ease, acquire the name and address of the attorney, it cannot contact the debtor unless a reasonable time has passed without a response from the attorney. The debt collector cannot go to the debtor’s place of work if it is known that the employer does not allow this type of communication on the job.

It is not uncommon for debt collectors to try to communicate with third parties in pursuit of payment. The consumer must provide the debt collector with consent to do so or there must be a court approval for it. Otherwise, the debt collector cannot communicate with a third party in relation to the debt other than the consumer or the consumer’s legal representation.

The consumer can notify the debt collector in writing that the debt will not be paid or request that the communication stop. The debt collector must stop except to: inform the debtor that the efforts to collect will stop; inform the consumer that there might be specific remedies for the debt; or to inform the consumer that there will be specific remedies for the debt.

Although debt collectors will be aware of federal law to protect debtors from these types of behaviors, that does not mean they will stop trying to collect on the debt. For people who have been subjected to legal violations related to unfair debt collection, having legal help is key. Whether it is related to debt collection, consumer fraud or any other matter, a law firm that specializes in these matters can help.