Dealing With Bill Collectors

The law protects you from threats and harassment

Chances are, if you have ever had credit (and there are very few Americans who haven't) you've been late on a bill or two at some time in your life. Today, hundreds of thousands of Americans have fallen behind on their payments for cars, furniture, credit card bills, and other consumer items.

If you're behind on your bills by more than a payment or two, sooner or later you can count on a call from a collection agency, asking you when you are going to pay up. Most of us dread dealing with collection agencies; there's a stigma attached to falling behind on payments. Unfortunately, bill collectors don't really care about the reason you are late with a payment, or that you have other creditors who also need to be paid. Bill collectors get paid a percentage of the amounts they collect. While a collector may make sympathetic noises, the bottom line is that he wants payment, and the sooner the better.

A number of state and federal laws have been enacted to protect consumers from threats and harassment by bill collectors. Unfortunately, most Americans don't know about these protections, a fact that many collectors take advantage of when they call or write. To protect yourself from these sleazy operators, you need to know how the law protects you.

Copyright 1999, ProSe Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

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