It Just Got A Lot Easier To Get Debt Collectors Off Your Back

Regulators are tripling their efforts to crack down on overzealous debt collectors.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became the third federal agency to take complaints from consumers on unfair debt collections practices on Wednesday, just a day after its co-watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission, slapped the largest debt collector in the country with a record $3.2 million civil fine for violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

It’s a positive step, to be sure. In addition to setting up a consumer complaint form on its site, The CFPB has even rolled out a handful of template letters consumers can use to get harassing debt collectors off their back. 

As of 2012, about 30 million consumers have an average of $1,400 of debt under collection, according to the CFPB. 

So, when exactly does a debt collector cross the line between just doing its job and breaking the law? 

Here are some valid reasons to report a debt collector: 

-They repeatedly call to harass you, even after you’ve asked them to stop.

-They try to recoup more money than you actually owe. 

-They threaten violence or some other exaggerated consequence, such as wage garnishment, jail time or damage to your credit score. 

-They use obscene or abusive language.

-The call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. 

-They divulge your debt to third parties, such as family, coworkers or friends they may contact in order to track you down. 

-They call you at work after you’ve asked them to stop.

-They won’t verify debts that you choose to dispute. 

-They ignore your continued pleas to stop contacting you.

How to report a debt collector: 

Contact the CFPBthe FTC, or your state’s attorney general.

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