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Debt collectors and restrictions on harassment

When an Arkansas resident who owes money on credit cards or to other creditors has a low income and fairly little property, what a debt collector is allowed to do is limited. Collectors working on behalf of creditors are able to stop doing business with someone, report their failure to pay to credit agencies and pursue legal action.

However, even if debtors are taken to court, they may be able to defend their non-payment. Additionally, if debtors have little in the way of income or property, collection agencies may not have anything to seize from them because certain property is exempt.

There are a variety of protections offered to consumers by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which limits the actions that a collection agency may take. Some of these limitations include preventing agencies from communicating with friends or family about someone's debt as well as restricting when calls to an individual may take place. Calls from collection agencies are to occur only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, if debtors write to a collection agency stating that they refuse to pay the debt and to stop communications, the agency is only allowed to communicate that they have stopped making contact and may go through with collection remedies, such as taking a debtor to court.

It is not uncommon for creditors to use tactics that are outside of the law in an effort to bully people into paying off debts because many are unaware of what exactly constitutes creditor harassment. Those who feel that they are being unlawfully harassed may wish to consult with an attorney in order to determine what remedies may be avaliable.

Source: National Consumer Law Center, "Dealing with Debt Collection Harassment ", October 24, 2014

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