The Rights & Limitations of Creditors
Jan. 26, 2022
If you have incurred a debt, the creditor has a right to repayment of the debt, including any interest or fees specified in the debt contract. If you fail to repay the debt, creditors or the collection agencies they hire in their stead have the right to contact you about the debt. To protect you, however, they also have limitations to what they can do in the debt-collection process.
If creditors are contacting you for any reason, you should know what they can and cannot do. You should also know what you can do to make the harassment stop.
The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. has helped hundreds of clients who are confronted by creditor attempts to collect outstanding debt. If you want to know what to do, Attorney David K. Blazek can help. His firm serves clients in Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia.
What Are Key Consumer Rights Laws?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and is designed to limit allowable actions by creditors attempting to collect debts owed by individual consumers. The FDCPA sets limitations on the time of day a creditor can contact you and the types of communication they can use, including email, letters, phone calls, and texts. The Act also requires confidentiality and full disclosure regarding the debt.
Also a federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates how creditors report debts to credit bureaus. It specifies how creditors can gather data and how they can disclose it to others, including reporting agencies, which is where your credit score is affected.
The Florida Consumer Collection Protection Act (FCCPA) works in unison with the FDCPA by prohibiting deceptive and aggressive tactics by creditors and collection agencies.
How Are Creditors Allowed to Collect Debt?
First, you should know what creditors must avoid in collecting debts. They cannot harass, lie, deceive, or treat you unfairly. Payments you make on debt you owe must be applied to the debt you specify, not as the collection agency wishes to apply it. Furthermore, you have the right to demand that the collection agency provide documentation to verify that the debt is yours and a way to dispute it if you assert it is not.
Creditors are allowed to file lawsuits against debtors in civil court. If they prove the debt is owed, they may obtain a judgment against you to demand payment. They may be able to garnish your wages to repay the judgment, which often includes interest, attorney’s fees, and other penalties.
They can also use the force of the judgment to place a lien on real property or other assets you own. Once you repay the debt in full, they must release the lien.
How Does Bankruptcy Affect Creditors’ Rights?
Upon filing for bankruptcy protection, the court issues an automatic stay against all creditors listed in the bankruptcy. That is why it is crucial that creditors for all dischargeable debt are included in the bankruptcy filing.
The stay orders creditors to cease and desist all efforts to collect on the debt you owe. They cannot foreclose on your home, repossess your car, or file a lawsuit against you in an attempt to obtain a judgment against you.
Bankruptcy is the most expedient way to stop creditor contact and harassment. If a creditor subject to the bankruptcy continues to harass you after the court has issued the stay, you can petition the court to hold the creditor in contempt. The bankruptcy court can penalize the creditor by assessing fines, order it to pay attorney’s fees you incur in your attorney’s efforts to quash the collection activities, and even order the creditor to pay damages you may sustain as the result of its unscrupulous collection practices.
How The Law Offices of
David K. Blazek, P.C. Can Help
If you are experiencing incessant bill collector calls or creditor harassment, you should know that federal and state laws uphold creditor rights but equally protect your rights as well. Some creditors will push the boundaries of debtor protections, if not blatantly violate them, hoping you don’t understand what your rights are. That is why consulting with The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. can help stop the harassment and explore your options to address the debt you owe.
Perhaps the best help an attorney can provide is to prevent creditors from contacting you in any way. Once they are put on notice that you are represented by an attorney, all communication must go through your attorney. Put your mind at ease and lower your stress. Call The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. now.