June 22, 2014
Debt collectors can't:
*Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They can call you at work, but they have to stop if you tell them your boss doesn't approve.
*Fail to provide you with written information. Within five days of calling you to demand payment, the collector must send you a letter telling you the amount you owe, the name of the creditor you allegedly owe it to and instructions for disputing if you believe there's an error.
*Harass you or your neighbors and family. That means they can't call you repeatedly, or call you right back if you hang up. Nor can they swear at you or call you names.
*Talk to anyone except you (or an attorney that you designate) about a debt you owe. Collectors can call your family or friends to try to locate you, but they can't say you owe money.
*Lie about who they are. Debt collectors can't imply they're government employees or law enforcement officers. They also can't claim to be attorneys if they're not. Use the Ohio Supreme Court's attorney directory link (http://bit.ly/OHattys ) to find out if someone who claims to be an attorney is registered to practice in Ohio.
*Physically or verbally threaten you. Collectors can't scare you into thinking you're going to be arrested or jailed for failure to pay. Although a debt collector might be able to sue, collectors are forbidden to threaten to take you to court if they have no intention of doing that.
*Misrepresent the amount you owe.
*Ignore your written dispute. When you dispute a debt, the collector must show you proof the debt's yours or assure you the matter has been dropped.
Contacting debt collectors
Use sample letters created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to contact debt collectors to request more information about a debt; dispute a debt; forbid collectors from contacting you again (be careful with this one, because if it's your debt and you tell the collector to stop calling, you can be sued); notify a collector to speak to your attorney; or tell a collector how or when to contact you. Find them at www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/debtcollection/
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