Many Indiana consumers are unaware of their rights when it comes to stopping debt collection practices against them. Your creditors will typically send your account for collection to a collection agency or a collection lawyer after about 90 days if you have not paid your account. However, debt collectors are refrained by law and cannot harass or threaten you. Many debt collection agencies violate federal and state consumer laws because they know that most consumers are not knowledgeable about the laws.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects consumers and enforces The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which regulates what debt collectors can and cannot do to collect a debt against you. If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, they are subject to receiving fines and penalties. However, the act does not apply to your original creditor. The State of Indiana also has consumer protection laws against illegal debt collecting practices.
If you are being harassed by a debt collection agency or debt collection attorney, you should contact an Indiana debt counseling and bankruptcy attorney or debt settlement agency to help you. The Indiana debt counseling and bankruptcy attorney is the only person who can legally represent you. The attorney will be able to explain the Indiana state and federal laws and advise you of your legal options and obligations.
Practices that Debt Collectors May and May Not Engage in:
• Cannot make phone calls to you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
• They must clearly identify themselves and that they are attempting to collect a debt.
• They can only speak to the person they are attempting to collect a debt from
• They cannot disclose any information about your account to any third parties
• They may not engage in threatening or harassing behavior
• They cannot engage in unfair practices such as trying to collect interest, a fee or other charges on your debt unless your contract with the original creditor allows such fees or it is legal under Indiana state law
• They cannot accept and deposit a post-dated check from you
• They cannot threaten to take your property unless they have obtained a legal judgment against you for the amount owed
• A car repossession company cannot repossess your vehicle if it is parked in your home garage because that is private property. They would be trespassing, and you could call the police
Measures You Can Take to Stop Debt Collection Practices
Under the FDCPA, by sending a certified letter to the debt collection company advising them not to contact you, you can prevent them from calling you at home or work. However, debt collection attorneys are exempt from this rule and may still continue to contact you. There are a few other exceptions to the law. The debt collection agency or attorney can call you if the status of your account changes, to tell you that they are no longer attempting to collect the debt or they are going to sue you. However, there is a good chance that the debt collection company will stop contacting you after you make the request to them in writing. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or your local Indiana Attorney General’s office if you believe that your creditor has violated the FDCPA.
Filing for Bankruptcy Protection and Other Options
Once you file for bankruptcy protection, your creditors are barred from contacting and trying to collect a debt against you while your bankruptcy case is pending and after it has been discharged. Bankruptcy stays all collection practices by creditors against you. If your creditors do contact you, they are in violation of the law and subject to fine and penalties. Since filing for bankruptcy is serious and usually used as a last resort when debts are no longer manageable, you should speak with an Indiana bankruptcy attorney. The Indiana bankruptcy law attorney can advise you of your legal options.
Other options besides filing for bankruptcy may include debt consolidation by consolidating your debts and using one lower interest credit card to pay them off or obtaining a line of credit from your bank secured by your home. Or another option is to have your Indiana debt counseling and bankruptcy attorney negotiate debt settlement with your creditors. Your bankruptcy lawyer may also be able to negotiate a mortgage modification with your lender if you are behind on your mortgage or owe more than your home is worth in the current market.
Contact an Indiana Bankruptcy and Debt Counseling Attorney
When you are being faced with debt collectors calling and harassing you, there are ways you can protect yourself against debt collection and get your life back. By contacting an Indiana bankruptcy and debt counseling attorney, you can find out what your legal options are and make an intelligent decision as what course of action is the best for you to take.