Debt collectors must play by the rules

Debt collectors have a job to do, but federal law limits how they can do it.

They can't call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree to it. And they can't call you at work if you tell them not to contact you there.

"They're not allowed to threaten you or trick you or lie to you," said Harvey Warren, author of the book Drop Debt. "When they get on the phone and say they're going to call your boss and your grandmother or come to your house and take your dog, then they're breaking the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They're violating federal law."

You don't need to put up with that. Tell the caller to stop the harassment immediately or you're going to report them to the authorities. Warren says that will typically put an end to the abusive collection tactics.

By the way, it's also illegal for a debt collector to say you're going to be arrested if you don't pay. You can't be arrested for not paying a debt. You can be sued, but not arrested.

More Info: Dealing with Debt