Falling into debt is stressful enough, but you may feel at your wit’s end if you are also facing a steady stream of communications from creditors and debt collectors. While New Jersey debt collectors have a right to try to reclaim what you owe them, there may be limits with regard to when, where and how they may contact you.
Per the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines which debt collection practices are legal and valid – and which ones may cross the line. If your debt collectors are doing any of the following, they may be breaking the law.
Contact you early or late in the day
There are limits to when debt collectors may contact you. They may not communicate with you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you have told them otherwise.
Contact you at work if you asked them not to do so
Debt collectors may contact you at work until you tell them they may not do so. Once you make this admission, they must cease calling you at your place of employment.
Lie to or threaten you
It is also unlawful for a debt collector to lie to intimidate you into paying a debt. For example, the debt collector may not tell you authorities are going to arrest you if you do not pay the debt if this is not, in fact, true. They also may not misrepresent who they are and tell you they are members of law enforcement if this is not the case.
While these are some examples of debt-collection methods that are illegal, this is not an exhaustive summary of all unlawful or unethical debt-collection tactics.