It is illegal for a debt collector to call you more than twice in seven days per debt. So if you have two debts handled by a collection agency or by the company that you owe, they can call you up to four times in seven days. An exemption is allowed if the debt company cannot reach the debtor.
Certain hours are open for calls to be made. A debt collector or collection agency can call debtors between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm. Even if you work a night shift, they are not allowed to call outside those hours as they are considered normal working hours for the general public.
It is considered a call if you are contacted by phone, email, or in-person conversation. Some companies and collection agencies use an automated dialing system. This system calls the numbers on the list to be called on any given day. The automated dialing system is programmed to call as often as regulations allow. It leaves a recorded message on an answering machine for the debtor to hear at their convenience. Automated calls are not human contact calls. If the debtor answers the call when it is made, they are instructed to contact the debt collector at their contact information. It has been argued by some companies that these calls do not count as valid calls, but courts have ruled that they are valid.
You cannot be called at work or other places outside your home more than twice in thirty days. If you answer a collection call at the workplace or outside your home, you can request that they not call you outside your residence. The collector has to stop calling at that point. They are not allowed to ignore your request. An oral request is valid for ten days. Written requests are valid until the debtor removes them.
If you are represented by an attorney helping you clear up your debts, the collection agency or debt collector cannot contact you directly. They must contact your attorney instead.
The collection agency cannot cause any expense to the debtor, such as long-distance calls to be returned.
What are Massachusetts Fair Collection Laws
Debt Collectors or Collection agencies are not allowed to threaten, harass, oppress, or abuse any person or persons, regardless of their debt or how much they owe. These are the collection regulations that must be followed.
- Threatening is considered to be any harm to someone’s person, reputation, or property in any way.
- Abuse can be the use of obscene language during a collection conversation. Yelling and screaming at a debtor is also considered to be abusive.
- A collector can not publish debts except to a Consumer Reporting Agency.
- A collector can not coerce a payment by advertising that the debts will be sold if they are not paid. Some agencies sell debts to other agencies if they cannot collect them. Collection calls in error can cause an issue if there is a mistake and the debt is already paid. The new agency will try to collect the debt again without checking to see if it is valid. This is a violation of the law.
- A collector can not tell anyone except the debtor about their debt. Talking to family members, friends, neighbors, or employers is against the law.
- A collector cannot demand or request a post-dated check.
- A collector can not collect any amount not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law. The collector can set up payments that will eventually have the debt paid off, but only the original amount of the debt.
What Does It Mean if Your Debt Is Bought by Another Collection Agency?
A collection agency can sell older debts to other agencies if they cannot collect them themselves. They can also buy debts that other agencies could not collect. When they are bought or sold, the collection actions are started again. It is illegal to collect a debt twice for the same company. Sometimes it is mistakenly listed as unpaid when debts are sold. Collectors must stop calling you if you have proof that the debt has been paid previously.
How Long Is My Debt Valid to Be Collected?
In Massachusetts, a debt collector can attempt to collect a debt for six years after the debt was incurred. These debts include credit card debt and both written and oral contracts. Student loan debt is not included in this limitation. Student loans are a debt that the federal government regulates and, therefore, do not have a time limitation on collection activities.
Do you know what the Massachusetts Fair Debt Laws are? Do you want to regain your financial freedom? If you are receiving collections calls and feel that you are being harassed, don’t hesitate to call Benner Law in Plymouth, Massachusetts, at 774-404-8321.