The actions that debt collectors in Maryland can and cannot take are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. While debt collectors are allowed to contact individuals about a valid debt, those who are contacted have a right to verify what the debt collector is saying. If a person makes a request to verify a debt balance, verification must be provided in writing. Collection agencies are also generally barred from making contact before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
Furthermore, they cannot contact an individual about a debt at their place of employment. If an individual requests that a debt collector put a stop to collection calls or letters, the entity attempting to collect a debt must comply. It is also a violation of the FDCPA to contact a family member other than a spouse or a friend about a debt.
According to the terms of the FDCPA, a debt collector cannot threaten or harass a person. For instance, a person cannot be told that a lawsuit is forthcoming if the entity collecting the debt has no intention of filing one. Harassment may include abusive language or making multiple phone calls on the same day. If debt collectors violate the law in any way, complaints can be made to a state’s attorney general or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make it possible to reorganize debt and make it easier to repay. During the repayment period, creditors generally cannot repossess or foreclose on a property, and they typically cannot contact debtors while a case is ongoing. This may provide debtors with time and leverage to renegotiate the terms of a mortgage, car loan or other debt. Debtors may be able to exclude individual debts from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.