Whether you have fallen behind on a few bills or in a serious debt negotiation, you need to know your rights. There are laws written to protect you from debt collectors. You are certainly under enough pressure with bills, why should you have to deal with incessant phone calls and empty threats from debt collectors?
Your Credit Miranda Rights
Just like you are entitled to know your rights before taken into custody by law enforcement officials, bill collectors are bound, under law, to tell you how much you owe and to what creditor. They also must be clear that, unless you say otherwise, the state debt is what you owe—you have a right to dispute the amount of the debt within 30 days or less. Failure to dispute the amount of the debt is a tacit acknowledgement that the figure is correct.
You are also allowed to request a verification letter that details what you owe in print. Importantly, the collector is obligated to make clear where the original debt came from.
Debt collectors have limited legal recourse
Once communication has been established between you and the collection agency, you have the right to request they cease and desist contacting you. From then on, they can only make contact to inform you the debt has been released or that they are taking legal action against you.
Collectors should, at no time, be allowed direct access to your bank account or your home after a cease and desist. If you are being pushed to take action through illegal means like harassing phone calls, or a creditor tries to get access to your bank accounts, contact authorities or a credit attorney.