The law is very clear about what debt collectors are permitted to do when dealing with consumers. Unfortunately, however, debt collectors often do whatever it takes to collect a debt—even break the law. When this occurs, affected consumers may pursue legal remedies. In this article, we examine what debt collectors can and can’t do when trying to collect a debt.
What Debt Collectors Can’t Do
Come to your workplace: Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to try to collect payment (but they are allowed to deliver lawsuit papers to your work).
Harass you: Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing you. Types of prohibited harassment include:
- Threats of violence
- Repeated phone calls
- The use of obscene or abusive language
- Publishing information about you
Arrest you: You can’t be placed under arrest over a debt you owe to a debt collector. However, if you are sued and you fail to show up in court, you may lose by default and be ordered by the court to pay. If you then defy that court order, it’s possible for the collector to pursue an arrest warrant.
Call you at any time: A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. In addition, a debt collector can’t call you at all if you request so in writing.
What Debt Collectors Can Do
Ask for payment of an expired debt: When debt reaches a certain age, it expires pursuant to California’s statute of limitations on debt. After this date, the debt collector can’t sue you for payment. However, you still owe it, and a debt collector can still pursue payment of the debt by contacting you.
Pressure you to pay: Although debt collectors can’t threaten or harass you, they can pressure you to pay a debt. This may include frequent letters, a reasonable number of telephone calls, and notification of possible legal action.
Sell your debt: It is perfectly legal for a debt collector to sell your debt to a debt buyer. When this happens, you may receive correspondence about the debt from an entity you don’t recognize.
Sue you: If you fail to pay your debt, the owner of the debt may file a lawsuit against you in court. Debt collection lawsuits often result in bank levies, wage garnishment, or both due to many debtors’ failure to show up in court. Therefore, if you are the recipient of a debt collection lawsuit, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney
If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit in California, you should contact an experienced California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Fullman Firm, our lawyers are passionate about fighting for the rights of consumers. So, when you come to us for help, we will do everything possible to ensure that your case has a successful result. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.