It’s not always easy to pay back your student loans in today’s economy and you’re probably getting abusive calls from student loan bill collectors at all hours of the day and night. Your family, friends and even neighbors may even be getting calls!
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects student loan debtors from unfair and abusive collection practices.
Your rights under the FDCPA
The student loan debt collector must, by law, send you written notice of the amount of debt and name the creditor who referred the debt to the collector for collection, within 5 days after they first contact you. This notice should inform you of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days of receipt.
The debt collector must also disclose they are attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for the purpose. Many collectors first communication with you will be by phone. The collector has to also include that disclosure in the first written communication that is sent to you. The FDCPA requires that in all subsequent communications with you, the debt collector must identify themselves.
Abusive collection activity prohibited
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector can’t:
1. Threaten you with violence;
2. Use profane, obscene or even abusive language.
3. Make repetitive or excessive frequent calls to annoy or harass you;
4. Misrepresent their identity;
5. Misrepresent the legal status of your debt;
6. Falsely accuse you of criminal activity; and
7. Threaten to take any action that’s illegal or the debt collector doesn’t actually intend to take.
What the student loan collector can do!
Under the FDCPA a student loan debt collector can legally:
1. Contact you by phone only between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. unless you give the debt collector permission to call at other times;
2. Call you at work unless you tell the debt collector your employer prohibits it;
3. Contact you by mail so long as there is no reference to the debt on the envelope;
4. Contact people who aren’t directly involved in your debt to get information on where you live and work so long as there’s no communication about the debt. The debt collector can contact each person only once unless it’s believed that the person gave the debt collector incorrect and incomplete information; and
5. Contact you directly unless the debt collector has been informed that you are represented by an lawyer regarding the debt.
Why you might want to dispute your student loan debt
Within 30 days of being contacted, you must notify the debt collector in writing that you dispute the debt or any part of the debt. The debt collector must send you proof of the debt and stop all collection efforts until the proof is mailed to you.
You should always ask for written proof of the debt, particularly the amount of the debt, as many times the debt collector gets the amount of the debt won.
You can send a written request that the collector stop all activity certified mail, return receipt requested. The debt collector can only then contact you once more to advise you as to what legal or other action they intend to take or to inform you that they won’t be contacting you anymore.
Once you’ve stopped communication with the debt collector, they can initiate legal action depending on the amount of your debt. A collector can sue you and, if you don’t answer within 20 days after you are sued, a default judgement will be entered. That’s bad news!
Why you should immediately contact a student loan FDCPA lawyer
You should immediately contact a student loan FDCPA lawyer if you get sued for student loan debt. If you fail to respond to the lawsuit, you may lose your right to raise valuable defenses for the debt. If the court enters a judgement against you, the creditor can pursue remedies such as repossession, liens or wage garnishment. You need a lawyer to file an Answer to the lawsuit within 20 days of service.
What you should do if you’ve been harassed about your student loan debt
You should immediately call the Student Loan Resolution Center who can help put an end to the harassing and abusive student loan collection calls and letters. We can help you get out of default and find the right Income Based Repayment Program that will help yo get on the right track to your financial future. Call us now at 727-828-9955 to have us help!