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Can a Debt Collector Contact Me After I Get an Attorney?
If you have fallen behind on your bills or you have an old debt that you never paid off, chances are you’ve received a phone call or two from a debt collector. As long as people continue to have debt, there will be creditors and third party debt collectors trying to collect what they feel they’re owed.
In order to keep these calls from getting out of hand, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) created the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This Act regulates when and how debt collectors contact consumers, covering such areas as:
- How often they may call;
- What hours of the day they may call;
- What information they must share with you; and
- Any persons beside you with whom they may discuss your account.
Typically, a debt collector should only discuss your account with you; however, this is not the case if you have hired a lawyer to help with your debt issue.
Let Debt Collectors Know If You Have an Attorney
According to the regulations outlined in the FDCPA, debt collectors may not contact you directly if they know you are being represented by an attorney. This regulation can only be enforced if the debt collectors know that you have an attorney; therefore, it’s important to give them your attorney’s name and contact information the next time they call. Although it is not required, you may want to follow up by sending something in writing to the debt collection agency, just to make sure all your bases are covered. Keep a copy of your correspondence in case the debt collector tries to dispute the claim that you sent them the information in writing.
As soon as they are informed of your representation, the debt collector will need to start sending all correspondence to your attorney. It’s important to note that your attorney must respond within a reasonable time frame; otherwise, the debt collector may resume contacting you. Also, if your attorney tells them it’s okay to contact you, they will start doing so again.
What If the Debt Collector Doesn’t Stop Calling Me?
If a debt collector continues to contact you, you should:
- Keep records. Save any voicemails you receive. If you answer a call, write down the date, time, and caller’s name. Keep copies of your phone records showing when they called you. All this information will be useful in proving the debt collector defied the FDCPA.
- Contact your attorney. Bringing all of your proof to the attorney will help build a case against the debt collector. Your attorney will review the information and decide the next action: perhaps filing a complaint with the FTC, contacting the state agency that deals with creditor harassment, or filing a lawsuit in court.
Contact an Ohio Debt Lawyer
Being in debt is stressful enough, and having someone constantly hounding you to pay them when you don’t have the money just makes things worse. The FTC created the FDCPA regulations to rein in the harassing tactics of debt collectors, so if you’re constantly being contacted by a creditor, you need to exercise your rights.
If you want to learn more about what debt collectors may or may not do, start by contacting an Ohio debt attorney. The debt attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates have numerous years of experiences fighting debt collectors and upholding the FDCPA.