Is a Debt Collector Contacting You?

Is a Debt Collector Contacting You?

If you are like many people, you may have some debt.  Sometimes when bills are unpaid, a creditor may seek the assistance of a collection agency or attorney to attempt to collect unpaid debts.  This can occur when debts are in unpaid and payments are in default and when unpaid debts are reduced to a court judgment.  What can you do if you are being called or otherwise contacted by a debt collector?  Can you make these contacts stop?  

As a consumer, you have federal and state legal protections that can limit potential communications and actions by debt collectors and provide you with piece of mind and other legal protections.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair and deceptive debt collection practices and provides broad remedies for unlawful conduct.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a good resource to help better understand your legal rights under the FDCPA: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text

In Oregon, the Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) and related debt collection practices act also contain strong consumer protections against unfair, unconscionable, and deceptive trade and collection practices.  Please review helpful information here: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/646.639

Also in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) Consumer Protection Section of the Civil Enforcement Division maintains a consumer protection hotline for consumers to report and the DOJ to investigate potential legal abuses and violations.  Please review helpful information here: https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/

The laws related to debt collectors and consumer protections are complex and broad.  Therefore, you should ensure you consult with legal counsel and/or the FTC and DOJ directly to fully understand your legal rights and responsibilities in relation to these laws.  In addition, you should educate yourself about the legal risks and options you may have by potentially avoiding the payment of your debts in light of your overall financial situation.

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