how many time can a bill collector call you in a day
how many time can a bill collector call you in a day
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how many times can a debt collector call you
I am in Washington state. Recently, I've been receiving calls from Conserve, a company that provides private and confidential services to private and public companies (as stated by the agent on the phone). This immediately made me suspicious, and when I asked for more information, they simply stated that they could not give me any more information. I told them that the person they were looking for was not available, and they stated that they would call back later. Before I could tell them not to, they had hung up. I looked up the company, and found that they are a debt collection agency, and on their website, it states that
This communication is from a debt collector, and is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.
As far as I am aware, if it is a debt collection agency calling, don't they have to inform of this, before I tell them any information? There is not automated message that states this, and it is from a different number each day.
The reason I am certain that it is a debt collection agency calling, is because the person that they are looking for, has told me about debts that they have, and have received letters attempting to collect a debt.
What steps can I take in this situation to either prevent them from calling, or have them at least let me know who they are?
They don't have to inform you that they are a debt collector. Because that can be a violation of 15 U.S.C. Section 1692b(2) by exposing that the person they are attempting to collect from has a debt. They are required to:
identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer -- 15 U.S.C. Section 1692b(1)
They also may not use any language indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt 15 U.S.C. Section 1692b(5)
What they do not have the right to do is harass you. They can not attempt to contact you again 15 U.S.C. Section 1692b(3) unless they have reason to believe you lied. I would contact the company back and inform them that you wish to have your number removed from their calling list, and that future calls may be a violation of 15 U.S.C. Section 1692b(3). Also, send them a notice in the mail. If they continue to attempt to contact you, report them to the FTC. You may also be entitled to monetary damages as well. See FTC
The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can’t prove that you suffered actual damages. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs.
Its worth it to show that you won't joke with them. I had a "debt" with T-Mobile (really, I had a billing error in their favor, and they admitted to it, but would not stop the debt collectors) and they violated the rules. I tried to work with them, 6 months later, they damaged my credit. I contacted FTC about it and T-Mobile with in 3 days had the debt cleared and reversed on my credit. They also paid for my damages. All I wanted was the debt cleared.
- Note: for calls being recorded, always make sure you follow local laws and inform the other party that the call is recorded. If they have a right to record you, you have a right to record them. You must always infrom them as well.
The person calling you is included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") definition of debt collector 1 :
(6) The term “debt collector” means any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (F) of the last sentence of this paragraph, the term includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting his own debts, uses any name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. For the purpose of section 1692f (6) of this title, such term also includes any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests. The term does not include—
(A) any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor;
(B) any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of such person is not the collection of debts;
(C) any officer or employee of the United States or any State to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of his official duties;
(D) any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;
(E) any nonprofit organization which, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; and
(F) any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent such activity
(i) is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement;
(ii) concerns a debt which was originated by such person;
(iii) concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or
(iv) concerns a debt obtained by such person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor.
They do not fall under the exclusions provided for in § 1692p of the Act, 2 :
Subject to paragraph (2), a private entity shall be excluded from the definition of a debt collector, pursuant to the exception provided in section 1692a (6) of this title, with respect to the operation by the entity of a program described in paragraph (2)(A) under a contract described in paragraph (2)(B).
They are required to identify themselves as a debt collector by the FDCPA (15 U.S. Code § 1692e(11) 3 , my emphasis):
. disclose in the initial written communication with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose, and . disclose in subsequent communications that the communication is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action.
Or, in plain English:
If you are the person for whom they are calling/to whom they are writing, they must disclose that they are a debt collection agency in all communications. If the initial communication is oral, they must also disclose that they will collect information for this purpose.
If you are not the person the debt collector is calling for, § 1692b (2)-(3) applies 4 :
Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall—
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;
Debt Collectors Time Limit – How Long Can Debt Collectors Come After Me?
When you default on a debt, your creditor has several options. They can try to get you to pay, they can sell the debt to a collection firm, or they can just write it off. Of course, they also have the option of suing you for the defaulted amount plus additional fees. But, how long can they, or the collection agency who collects on your debt, go after you for the money?
Collection agencies like new debt. If they can get debt that was defaulted on within the last 180 days, they will have a very high probability of contacting you for payment. When they buy the debt, they get the most recent phone numbers, address, your social security number, and any other information the lender feels is important. They may even get original signatures or paperwork showing that you agreed to the terms of service and are legally liable for the debt.
When the collector gets a hold of your file, they start pursuing it immediately. You will get letters, phone calls, and a nagging suspicion that every time your phone rings, it will be someone wanting the contents of your wallet. The fresher the debt, the harder they work, because they know where to find you.
After a period of time, generally 9 months to a year, the debt starts to be come known as ‘stale’. This debt is much harder to collect on. Someone who has defaulted on a loan or credit card probably has defaulted on others, and may have faced eviction or has moved to try to find work. Their phone numbers probably don’t work, the address is invalid, and the debt collector has to work harder to find them (see How Debt Collectors Find You). This debt, when purchased, has a much lower return than does fresh debt. Because of that, it is substantially less expensive than fresh debt for a collection agency to buy.
Older still is out-of-statute debt. From a legal standpoint, each state has rules about how long a person can be sued by a collection agency to try to collect debt. When the debt passes a certain number of months or years after the initial default, the collector can no longer sue you for it. That is why they often sue in the few months before debt goes out-of-statute. Once the suit is filed, it won’t matter how long you wait. There is no time limit after filing. Before filing, however, they have limited time.
Out-of-statute debt is very hard to collect on. However, since it is so cheap, it takes very few collected dollars for a collection agency to make a profit. They may, depending on your initial contract, also be able to try to collect on interest at the default rate. So it takes very few payments to make these folks feel wealthy. Since the time period varies for this debt, you should be familiar with your state’s laws regarding collections. Texas is among the most favorable to the debtor at 4 years, and Ohio is one of the strictest at 15 years.
The bottom line, however, is that there is no time limit for them to try to collect. There is a time limit for suing you, but they can call you forever.
One final note about this subject: If you respond to a collection agency by making a payment, the clock starts ticking again for out-of-statute collections. At that point, they can sue you again, as long as the original time period for out-of-statute has not elapsed. And if you want the calls to stop, you need to learn your rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).