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New debt collection rules now in effect

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 5:52 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) -This time of year, many people fall into debt, and in January, calls and notices may come if payments are late.

However, there are rules debt collectors must follow.

If it seems like you’re being bombarded with calls from debt collectors, remember they must follow certain rules, and if they don’t, there’s a good chance someone is trying to scam you. New rules for debt collectors took effect November 30.

The narrator on a Federal Trade Commission video asks, “Falling behind on your bills? Even if you owe more than you can handle, you still have rights.”

Most legitimate debt collectors do follow the rules. And if they’re not, chances are it’s not a legitimate debt collector.

Better Business Bureau President Angela Guth says the first thing to do is validate the debt and the company trying to collect it.

“What is the nature of this collection? Where did it originate from? Is it a credit card? Is it a doctor’s office that you owe? Can they give you an account number possibly? Date of service, very important,” Guth said.

As well, legit debt collectors should not threaten you, because it’s against the law.

An FTC video shows examples of unacceptable calls: “If you don’t pay, we will have you arrested and deported.” Or this: “This is your final warning. Pay up now or we’ll contact your employer and make them pay.”

Guth says hang up and report the call.

Debt collectors can now contact you on social media, but it must be a private message.

“Just like with phone calls - with phone calls they’re not allowed to call you before 8 a.m. in the morning. They’re not allowed to contact you after 9 p.m. at night,” Guth said. “The same things are going to happen whenever it comes to social media. It cannot be a public post that they’re making to your profile. They actually have to reach out to you via Messenger - some sort of direct messaging.”

If you’re having an issue with a debt collector, you can file a complaint.

For information on filing a complaint click HERE. You may also submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau online or by calling (855) 411-2372. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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