Many Americans like you are being contacted by collection agencies who are trying to get payments on defaulted accounts they have acquired or been assigned. Even though you may owe a debt, you still have rights.
You should dispute the debt in writing if you feel as if the dollar amount the collection agency is requesting is inaccurate, if you feel the debt is not owed or if you feel the debt is fraudulent. You can send a letter to the collection agency within thirty days of first being notified of the collection. You should send this letter via certified mail so that you can prove that they received it. In response to your dispute, the collection agency must cease collection activity until they send you some sort of validation of the alleged debt. They can resume their collection efforts again once they produce proof of your debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) regulates what debt collection agencies may and may not do. There are many things collection agencies cannot do or say when contacting you. Collection agencies may not:
use abusive or obscene language;
call before 8am or after 9pm;
call you repeatedly;
call you at work, if they know that your employer does not permit personal calls;
contact any third party and state that you owe a debt;
threaten to have you arrested or imprisoned.
If any of these things occur, your best option is to consult with a consumer protection attorney.