One of the most common debts that consumers have is medical debt. No insurance, high deductibles and uncovered services all contribute to one’s medical bills.
As a medical professional, you deserve to collect on bills that others owe. However, there are laws in place that protect consumers from collector harassment, so it is important that you understand what those laws are.
Collection validation notice
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there is a certain way to initially let someone know that you are attempting to collect a debt. This collection validation notice must be in written or electronic form. Information to put in the notice includes the name of the creditor, identifying information about the debt collector, account number of the debt, current amount of the debt, itemization of the debt and instructions (as well as a dispute form) on how to dispute the debt.
Some of the laws are in place to protect the debtor from harassment or abuse, and these include how and when you can contact for collection. You may not call someone more than seven times in a seven-day period or within seven days of speaking on the phone about the debt. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, you may not contact via phone between the hours of 9:00 pm and 8:00 am. You also cannot contact the debtor if you receive a written demand for contact termination.
Other prohibited acts
Other things you may not do include:
- Threaten with arrest or legal action
- Contact the debtor if there is involvement of an attorney
- Tell anyone else that the debtor owes money
- Make false statements or mislead representation
If a debt collector violates any of the laws, there is administrative enforcement, and the debtor may be able to recover damages.