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I’m being threatened by a debt collector! Can they come to my home?


How does the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” protect me?

 

Dear Kim,

A few years ago, I had a cell phone that I cancelled before the end of the contract. The cell phone company charged me a $200 termination fee. I cancelled the service because I had terrible reception and I refused to pay the termination fee. I am aware of the credit ramifications, but I have started receiving calls from a collection agency for the money.  They are calling me twelve to fifteen times per day. When I spoke with them and told them that I refuse to pay based on principle, the representative told me that if I didn’t pay he would call my boss and my neighbors and tell them I was a dead beat. I hung up on him and he called back a few minutes later using obscene language and threatened to come to my home to collect the money, called me a terrible name and then hung up on me. Can he come to my home? I am frightened to answer the phone. I am also wondering if I need to alert my employer about this, so if the collection agency calls my boss she will know that I am not a “dead beat.” I am losing sleep over this, and I am tempted to pay just to get this man to stop harassing me.

Please Help!
Erika, IN

 

Dear Erika,

The behavior you describe by this collector appears to be in direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There are rules that collection agencies must follow. They cannot use obscene language, threaten you with harm, or use the phone as a harassment tool. The collector is using scare tactics to force you to pay the debt.  The Federal Trade Commission has a consumer publication on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which you can view online at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf. I suggest that you reach out to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.org). I feel that it is important that you file a complaint against this collection agency with both offices. Most importantly, relax. I know this is frightening, but please remember that all they are doing is attempting to collect a $200 debt. You have committed no crime, and they are not permitted to show up on your doorstep to collect this debt.

Best Wishes.
Kim

 


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Kim Cole is the Community Engagement Manager for Navicore Solutions. Kim provides financial education workshops and seminars to communities. Readers can submit general questions relating to personal finance, credit scoring, debt management, student loans, home finance or bankruptcy which may be highlighted in the next month’s edition. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.

Please send your questions via email to DearKim@navicoresolutions.org