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What a debt collector cannot do

Some debt collectors in Maryland do not get looked upon favorably because of how they attempt to collect debts. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from being abusive toward consumers. Debt collectors cannot use the following tactics.

Claim to be from a government agency

The FDCA states that a debt collector cannot claim to work for a government entity when they don’t. They have been known to claim the work for the U.S Marshal, or the Department of Justice. Likewise, they cannot pretend to work for a consumer reporting agency.

Make empty threats to arrest the debtor

Debt collectors cannot make threats to arrest a debtor. Making an arrest requires an arrest warrant, which they cannot issue. Getting behind on loans or credit card debt doesn’t result in getting arrested or jail time. However, neglecting to show for a hearing over debts or failing to pay child support or taxes could result in arrest.

Shame a debtor publicly

A debtor cannot be publicly humiliated or shamed by a collection agency. Collectors cannot openly disclose who owes them money or discuss the debt with anyone other than the debtor or their lawyer. They may contact a third party to find the location of the debtor, but they can only do that once in some states.

Attempt to collect debt not owed

A collection agency could use false information to collect a debt. Sometimes, a debt may get transferred or sold to one collection agency to another. Some debts get cleared in bankruptcy, or a person with a similar name might owe the debt. The debtor has the right to ask for more information about the debt through certified mail.

Harass the debtor

A debt collector cannot harass debtors through violent threats, swearing or repeated calls. They cannot make calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. or contact the debtor at work without permission. If a debtor issues a written order to stop contacting them or only contact their attorney, they have to follow it.

Whether a consumer owes a debt or not, they should get fair treatment. If a debtor keeps getting harassed by debt collectors, he or she might seek debt collection harassment help for consumers.