How far can bill collectors legally go? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

How far can bill collectors legally go?

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SPOKANE, Wash. - As budgets get tighter, the likelihood of falling behind on paying a bill grows, and then those annoying calls start coming asking for the money.

When it comes to bill collectors, you have rights. Everyone handles debt collection calls in different ways.

"I hate when they call. I always hang up," said one person.

"I don't think it's right that they call all the time," said another person.

When it comes to how debt collectors behave, they must behave the same, as they're ruled by the fair debt collection practices act.

"They can't harass you. There's no firm number of times they can call you. They can't call you before 8 in the morning and creditors also can't call you after 9 p.m.," said Leonard Gordon of the Federal Trade Commission.

You can tell them where not to call. Say, no calls at work for example.

"The first thing you should do with a debt collector is with five days of notifying you has to send you in writing a description of the debt, how much is owed and to whom it is owed. If you don't think the information the debt collector has sent you is accurate, you have 30 days to dispute it in writing," said Gordon.

Ignoring that notification, means you acknowledge and accept the debt.

If you don't have the money to pay, try to negotiate.

"Some debt collectors are collecting on behalf of the organization to which you owe money, so it depends on how flexible they want to be," Gordon said.

The best time to negotiate is with your debtor directly, before it goes to a collection agency.

If you think because you are on the "do not call" list you can't be phoned, think again.

"The 'do not call' list is for telemarketing calls. It does not exempt you from debt collection calls," said Gordon.

If you're thoroughly fed up by too many calls, as a last resort you can tell them, in writing, do not contact me anymore. You should know that message will go directly onto your credit report and could work against you should you seek credit in the future.

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