Many Illinois residents are struggling right now. Overwhelming debt can cause you to feel exhausted and hopeless. Although you may be trying to get your finances back on track, constant communications or harassment from creditors can be scary and stressful.
Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently enacted a Debt Collection Rule that lays out rules for how debt collectors can contact you and what information they must provide to you.
Letters and phone calls
If a debt collector contacts you in writing, they must provide specific information about the debt. This includes things like the name of the creditor, the account number, the current amount of the debt and information on how you can dispute the debt.
There are also new rules surrounding phone calls from debt collectors. It is now illegal for debt collectors to call you more than 7 times within a 7-day period, or within 7 days after they speak with you about a particular debt.
This means if you don’t ignore a call from a debt collector and pick up the phone and talk with them, they cannot call you again for at least another 7 days.
Sometimes the phone calls from debt collectors are automated, rather than from a real person. These are called limited-content messages.
A limited-content message must provide a legitimate telephone number for you to return the call and a specific name of someone to contact. It must state a business name that does not refer to itself as a debt collector.
Many debt collectors are using social media to contact debtors. The Debt Collection Rule allows this practice; however, creditors must identify themselves as a debt collector, only contact you through a private message and allow you the option to stop receiving communications from them through social media.
Finally, creditors can no longer report your debt to a credit agency without speaking to you about the debt. If they cannot reach you, they must send a letter or electronic communication to you about the debt and wait approximately 14 days before they can report the debt.
Depending on your debt situation, bankruptcy may be the answer. Experienced attorneys can help you explore your options.