Collection calls refer to calls made by debt collectors when collecting overdue payments. These payments could be overdue credit card bills and loans, including student loans, medical bills, phone bills, etc.
Collection calls have the potential to turn into harassment as debt collectors may call several times; many times over the week, many times in the course of the day without taking into consideration the time of the calls. While this is not a behavior pattern followed by all collectors, most collection calls can be very insistent and can even cause disruptions in the life of the person being called.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act or the TCPA aims at regulating unsolicited calls, including those made using automated telephone equipment, cellphones, fax machines, etc.
If you are unsure of whether you are indeed getting calls that are troublesome, pay attention to the pattern displayed in the calls and by the callers. That will provide you with important clues on whether you need to take definitive steps to stop the calls and whether to leverage the TCPA guidelines to your benefit or not.
Here are some ways in which the TCPA helps protect consumer rights and stops unwanted or unsolicited collection calls from causing trauma:
Note timings of the calls and frequency
The TCPA prohibits collectors from making calls early in the morning or late at night. Calls made between 9 pm and 8 am are illegal.
Do you have the identity of the caller?
The TCPA requires callers to identify themselves and also provide names of the entity on whose behalf they are calling, in case of third-party collections.
Have you registered your number on the do-not-disturb registry?
Numbers listed on the do-not-disturb registry must not be called. Further, the TCPA outlines that written requests to stop collection calls must be honored. However, post ceasing contact, the debt collection entity can take steps to collect valid, overdue debt.
Have details about the debt been conveyed to your friends/family members or at your workplace?
Debt collectors are forbidden from leaving debt details as a message with anybody other than the consumer themselves. The debt cannot be discussed with anybody else, even if the consumer is unavailable to talk on the phone.
Contact a TCPA lawyer to end the trauma
Most consumers are unaware that debt collectors must follow the laws when contacting them. When informed that they have an overdue debt, most consumers may get stressed out enough to find ways of repaying it without even first validating whether it belongs to them, or not. Legally, guesswork is not accepted when talking about debt. If collectors are talking to consumers in an intimidating manner, giving figures of overdue amounts, etc., they must be sure the information they possess is correct and belongs to the right consumer.
There are several such matters that may need professional interpretation because consumers are unaware they have legal protection. A TCPA lawyer can guide consumers better regarding their case as well as help them put an end to troublesome calls.
If you or someone you know is facing these concerns, it is time to a put a stop to it.
Legal Rights Advocates, PLLC is a law firm that helps clients who are facing debt harassment and looking for ways to bring a stop to it. Our team of attorneys, over the years, has helped countless clients understand the process better, act against it as needed, and win largely successful outcomes.