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The Debtors Bill of Rights

The following is a list of common practices that are all prohibited by federal law and which you have a right to stop:

The Right to Stop Debt Collector Harassment!      

Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, they may not:

           Arrow  Use threats of violence or harm;
           Arrow  Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this                  information to the credit reporting companies);
           Arrow  Use obscene or profane language;
           Arrow  Repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone; or
           Arrow  Call outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time.

The Right to Stop False Statements!

Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:

           Arrow  Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
           Arrow  Falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
           Arrow  Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
           Arrow  Misrepresent the amount you owe;
           Arrow  Indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or
           Arrow  Indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.

The Right to Stop False Threats!

Debt collectors may not make false threats. For example, they may not indicate:

           Arrow  You will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt;
           Arrow  They’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted                  by law to take the action and intendto do so;
           Arrow  Legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t                  intend to take the action;
           Arrow  or Take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally.

The Right to Stop Unfair Collection Practices!

Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not:

           Arrow Try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the                 contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge;
           Arrow Deposit a post-dated check early; Contact you by postcard;
           Arrow Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting                 company;
           Arrow Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government                 agency if it isn’t; or
           Arrow Use a false company name.

The Right to Stop Collectors from Contacting Other People!

Debt collectors generally may not call your employer, friends and family. For example:

           Arrow The debt collector may not discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse,                 or your attorney, except to find out your address, your home phone number, and where                 you work;
           Arrow If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the                attorney, rather than you; or
           Arrow If a collector knows you may not receive calls at work, the collector may not call you at                work.

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