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Do you know your debt collection rights?

Many consumers find they are getting calls from debt collectors about unpaid and overdue bills. Do you know your rights when it comes to debt collection?

 Take our quiz and find out.

Question 1.

What federal law governs how debt collectors interact with debtors regarding unpaid bills?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The Debt Collectors' Bill of Rights.
None of the above.

Question 2.

True or false: Debt collectors can call you at any time to ask about unpaid bills.

True. I mean, you owe the unpaid debt 24/7, so that's when they can call, right?
False. Being a debtor doesn't mean collectors can use sleep deprivation techniques.

Question 3.

If you are contacted by a debt collector about a bill that you know is not your obligation, you should:

Send a letter asking for written verification that the debt is yours.
Exert your rights under the Fifth Amendment: Deny the debt is yours and hang up the phone.
Put on a foreign accent, tell the collector "No speak English! Wrong mumber! Wrong number!" and hang up the phone.
Throw away the letter because it is clearly the wrong address.

Question 4.

Ignoring a debt that you are legally obligated to pay can result in which of the following actions: (Check all that apply)

A civil suit filed against you.
A jail sentence.
A negative entry on your credit report and lower credit score.
Ironically, you'll be required to accept debt collectors' "collect" phone calls.
Denial of an application for a new credit card or car loan.

Question 5.

A "time-barred debt" is:

A debt that is beyond the "time limit" for filing suit to collect the balance.
An overdue bar tab.
A debt that has been "charged-off" by a bank or other creditor.
A debt that has barred any time limit. In other words, it's collectible forever.

Question 6.

Which one of the following debt collection practices is NOT banned by federal law?

Making harassing telephone calls.
Threatening to take your home and have you arrested if you don't pay your bills.
Leaving a voice mail message on your home answering machine with details about debts you owe.
Sending a letter asking you to contact the debt collection agency about your unpaid debt.
Repeatedly calling your job about unpaid bills.
Calling friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers about debts you owe.

Question 7.

True or false: Some states have laws that license and govern debt collection practices.


Question 8.

Settling a debt for less than the amount owed is an option many people consider. Which of the following can happen to you if you do a debt settlement?

Your credit report will for seven years disclose that you paid less than you agreed, hurting your chances of getting another loan.
The IRS will consider the forgiven portion of the debt as income and the debtor may be liable for federal income taxes the following year.
A disreputable debt settlement company can collect your money but never pay off the debt as promised.
All of the above.

Question 9.

True or false: Filing for bankruptcy will immediately stop debt collection calls and letters.


Question 10.

What is debt reaffirmation?

Paying off the same debt a second time.
Longtime couples are deeply indebted to the other, and they reaffirm their vows in a moving ceremony.
In a bankruptcy case, the judge will require a debtor to rise and acknowledge his or her debts before discharging them.
Agreeing to pay a debt that you are not legally required to pay.

Question 11.

Someone with the same name as yours owes money and a debt collector is calling you demanding payment of that person's debts. Which of the following options are available to you?

Report the company to the Federal Trade Commission.
Send the debt collector a written request to verify that the debt is yours.
Contact your state attorney general to file a complaint about the company.
Contact ACA International, the debt collection industry trade group, to seek resolution to the problem.
All of the above.