If you have unpaid invoices or other unpaid debts, it is understandable that you want to take steps to collect the money owed to you. It is your right as a creditor to request payment and to get paid.
However, there are state and federal laws that outline your rights and the rights of the debtor. To avoid legal action taken by the debtor, you should understand the right way to collect debt.
According to the Attorney General of the State of Ohio, a consumer has the right to know, in writing, the identity of the creditor, the amount of debt he or she owes and the time allowed to dispute the debt. The debt collector must mail this out within five days of a phone call to the debtor.
A consumer can respond within 30 days of the debt collector’s contact to dispute or request verification of the debt. The debtor can also request in writing that the debt collector not contact the debtor again.
Prohibited acts by the debt collector
The Federal Trade Commission outlines the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provisions. When trying to locate the debtor, a debt collector may ask others about location but may not state the reason for the inquiry. Once the collector locates the consumer, he or she may only communicate with the debtor, unless there is an attorney. Some of the actions the collector may not take include:
- Contact the consumer between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am
- Continue to contact after receiving a cease communication letter
- Harass or threaten the consumer
- Impose additional fees or interest to the original debt amount
- Contact the consumer at work if not allowed
A debt collector must also identify him- or herself and not mislead the consumer in any way.