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Law Offices of Michael H. Johnson, P.A.
3601 West Commercial Boulevard, Suite 31
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Fort Lauderdale Law Office

Law Offices of Michael H. Johnson, P.A.
2240 Palm Beach Lakes Bvld, 4th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

West Palm Beach Law Office

Six Things a Debt Collector Can Never Do

Anyone who has ever been deep in debt knows how relentless debt collectors can be. Many debt collectors work on commission, which provides a direct incentive to employ a no-holds-barred collection strategy.

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers against harassing or abusive debt collection practices. Unfortunately, many debt collectors choose not to follow the law. They assume - often rightly - that debtors will either be unaware of their rights or unwilling to fight back.

If you are being pursued by debt collectors, know that you have rights. The FDCPA specifically prohibits a number of debt collection practices, including the following:

Calling at inconvenient times: If you are not allowed to receive personal calls at work, debt collectors cannot call you there. If you don't want them to call at certain times of day, they have to stop. All you are required to do is tell them to stop calling.

Talking to third parties: Debt collectors are prohibited from talking to your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or any other third party about your debts, unless you give them permission to do so.

Threatening arrest: You can't go to jail simply for falling on hard times and becoming unable to pay your debts. The FDCPA specifically prohibits debt collectors from threatening to take any action they don't actually intend to pursue.

Violating an automatic stay: Filing for bankruptcy places an "automatic stay" on your debts, meaning that collection efforts must stop until the bankruptcy is resolved. Debt collectors cannot contact you while your case is pending. Similarly, debt collectors cannot attempt to collect on debts that were properly discharged in bankruptcy.

Using harassing or threatening language: Debt collectors are not allowed to use abusive language or make threats of harm or arrest. They are also not allowed to call so frequently as to be harassing.

Refusing documentation: If you request it, debt collectors are required to provide proof that you actually owe the money they are asking for.

If you are being hounded by debt collectors, the first thing to do is to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can evaluate your case and help you find away to either discharge or manage your debt.

The attorney will also be able to advise you whether your debt collectors have been violating the FDCPA. If so, you may be able to seek legal recourse in civil court.