Is harassment off-limits for debt collectors in Arizona?

Is harassment off-limits for debt collectors in Arizona?

Arizona residents who have unpaid bills or who have been mistakenly listed as past due may have heard from debt collectors. A debt collector is someone who habitually collects debts that are owed to someone else. Collection agencies and companies that buy delinquent debts are examples of debt collectors. A debt collector uses various methods to try and collect the debt from debtors, but the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits some practices as being abusive, deceptive or unfair.

One of the most important prohibitions of the act is that a debt collector cannot contact the debtor at inconvenient times of the day, such as early in the morning or late at night. In addition to this, if the debt collector is informed of it, they may also not contact someone at work. Collectors are also prohibited from contacting third parties about the debt and can only inquire about the debtor's contact information from other people.

Harassment is specifically off-limits to debtors. This means they cannot make statements of harm or violence and cannot use obscene language. They also cannot publish a name of people who owe them debts and cannot repeatedly call a debtor over and over. They cannot make false statements and claim someone can be arrested for not paying their debt or that they can seize property or garnish wages unless they are allowed by law to do so.

Arizona residents struggling with debt may not be aware that there is life outside of wage garnishment, repossession threats and harassment from debt collectors. It is possible to put at end to this by declaring bankruptcy and starting one's financial life afresh of these debts, as most debts can be wiped out or reorganized through bankruptcy.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Consumer Information - Debt Collection," accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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