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Creditor harassment and credit card debt

Consumers in New Jersey may benefit from learning more about credit card debt and creditor harassment as described by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is responsible for enforcing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is legislation that makes it unlawful for debt collection companies to participate in deceptive, unfair or abusive practices in an effort to obtain collections from consumers. The FDCPA describes debt collectors as anyone who routinely collects debt owed to other parties.

Those routinely involved with collecting debt include lawyers who routinely collect debts, collection agencies and organizations that purchase debts with the intent to collect on them. Some of the debts covered by the FDCPA include household, family, personal and credit card debt, as well as medical bills and auto loans. Debts accrued by a business entity are not subject to this act.

Law only permits debt collectors permitted to contact consumers about collecting on an outstanding balance between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Consumers also have the right to request that debt collectors not call during working hours. Consumers are advised to speak with debt collectors at least one time so that they might request to have the collector cease any more attempts to make contact. Once they receive the written request by certified mail, collectors should only contact consumers to let them know there will be no more contact or if specific action, such as a lawsuit, is being pursued.

People who are struggling with debt or creditor harassment often benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be effective with helping debtors search alternative remedies for debt relief, such as filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Lawyers may be able to protect consumers from creditor harassment and garnished wages as well. In addition, lawyers may be also able to help debtors develop a viable plan to repay the outstanding debt.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Debt Collection", November 13, 2014

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