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What are unfair collection practices?

Life can be stressful when money that you owe goes to collections. You may be contending with phone calls and letters from debt collectors. Sometimes collectors can go to extreme measures to attempt to collect a debt. There is almost nothing more annoying than being woken up early in the morning by a creditor calling you, or repeated phone calls throughout the day. However, constant phone calls are not the only tactic some debt collectors resort to. You and other Wisconsin residents may wonder what is considered normal and what is unfair and abusive.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers are protected by law from unfair, abusive and unscrupulous debt collection methods. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from the following tactics:

  • Repeatedly calling you on the phone at all hours, including at work
  • Yelling, using obscenities or making physical threats
  • Making false claims, such as threatening to have you arrested or claiming to be a government agent
  • Misrepresenting the amount you owe

If you are being contacted by a debt collector, you may request an end to the phone calls and letters. You should also get information on the debt they are claiming you owe and the agency contacting you. A reputable debt collector is likely to work with you regarding payment plans and other concerns. You can also request that the collector speak only to your attorney about the debt.

You have options and protections if you are trying to deal with debt. Since this topic can be complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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