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February 18,2008

  • Hassled by Collection Agencies?, Pt.3
      Where to draw the line.


    Official Impersonations: Collection agencies must identify themselves as such. They are not allowed to mislead you that they can "hurt you officially". No threats of arrest and in many states it is even illegal to threaten garnishment. They are not allowed to pose as lawyers of legal council. They can, however, scare you you about your credit card score.

    Inappropriate Encroachment: Collection agents are also barred from pestering you all hours of the night. They are limited to only calling you between the hours of 8AM to 9PM of your local time.

    No More Calls: You have the right to demand that they call you no more. You must implement this action in writing to direct collections agents not to call you any more. After this time, however, they are allowed to call you just one more time. That's it. No more after that. Be advised, however, that they can still trash your credit rating and credit card score. They may also, in rare cases, participate in proceedings for court action against you. Again, be mindful that this calm may precede a coming storm. If you value your credit cards, you should try to work with these people.

    Appropriating these Rights: In a perfect world you wouldn't even need to know this stuff. But, in this world, liberty only comes with vigilance. For the last few years the FTC has turned a blind eye to the credit industry; not just credit cards. Very rarely does anyone ever get busted over these abuses. The penalty is a piddley $1,000 fine, so collection agencies are generally not too concerned about it. With the Dubya regime behind us, we may see some healthy changes in the future. Enter, Senator Dodd (D Conn). This "fighting jack" has been riled about this stuff now for 17 years and may, finally, be coming up to bat. He is taking on the powerful credit card industry right now and more than ever, the winds of change are finally in his favor. So don't give up. There's power in numbers, especially now.

    What to Do: Complain to the FTC. Even though they may be ‘soft' on industry abuse, their overseers in Congress are not.  Statesmen like Senator Dodd and House, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York are fired up. Their credo is that federal laws pack more punch that agency regulations so they're attempting to blanket many federal credit card regulations with federal law. If you feel you are a victim, then I suggest you get things rolling and call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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