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Understanding Debt Collection Laws

September 8th, 2015 8:53 am

Debt collection laws have changed, thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Now, collection laws aren’t one-sided, but instead give consumers a way to fight back against bill collectors who would cross the line in an attempt to collect a debt. So many bill collectors work on a contingency basis, which means that they don’t get paid unless they collect, and that can make them take actions in their collection efforts that are against collection laws.

If you’re dealing with a collection agency employee, and aren’t sure if he’s following debt collection laws, here’s a general overview of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

* Any time a bill collector contacts you, he or she must identify himself or herself as a collector. They aren’t allowed to pretend to be anyone else, such as law enforcement, an office of the court, or an attorney.

* According to collection laws, a debt collector must tell you in their original contact letter that you have 30 days to dispute the debt. They must also tell you that unless you do so, they have the right to assume that the bill is valid.

* If you dispute a debt, the collection agency isn’t allowed to continue their efforts to collect the money until they have proven the debt is yours to pay. If they do, they are violating the established debt collection laws.

*If the debt is disputed, it will be the collector’s responsibility to prove that the debt is yours. They must provide you with original paperwork that shows you agreed to pay the debt to the original creditor.

* If it’s established that the debt is yours, the debt collector cannot speak to anyone about the debt except you and, in some states, your spouse. If they call a third party to try and locate you, they aren’t allowed to tell them that they are calling about a debt. What’s more, if you hire an attorney, the collection laws state that debt collectors can only communicate with your attorney from the date you notify them about it.

* When dealing with a collection agency, they aren’t allowed to talk to you in a way that demeans you, belittles you, or humiliates you. They aren’t allowed to threaten you or attempt to bully you into paying your debt.

* A collector isn’t allowed to contact you at work if you tell them, in writing, that you’re not allowed to receive phone calls there.

* Debt collection laws state that a debt collector can’t call you before 8AM or after 9PM in your time zone. In addition, they aren’t allowed to make repeated calls in an attempt to harass you.

* If you don’t wish to communicate with a collector, you have the right to tell them so. Send them a cease and desist letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested and tell them that you no longer wish to communicate with them, and according to collection laws, they must stop. That doesn’t mean that they have to stop attempting to collect the debt, but they won’t be able to contact you unless they do so to tell you that they are stopping their collection efforts, or are taking legal action to collect the debt.

Employment Law Factsheet

September 8th, 2015 8:52 am

What is employment law?
Employment law is what administers the relationship between employers and their staff. The first recorded history relating to employment law is that it began as labour law in the late 18th century, but in 1996, it became the Employment Rights Act 1996 – covering many different areas.

Employment rights

There are plenty of rights and laws protecting employers and employees from various circumstances. They are all there to ensure no one is unfairly treated at work. The following are some basic employment rights.

The right of employees to receive a written statement of employment

All employers are required by law to give employees a written statement describing their employment particulars. This covers things such as working hours, wages and holiday pay. It is more commonly called a €Contract of Employment’ and usually comes alongside a formal letter of employment, where the company invites a candidate to their company.

The right to not be unfairly dismissed
All employees are protected against unfair dismissal. This means that if an employer doesn’t have a reason for firing someone, they can be taken to an Employment Tribunal and will more than likely lose (having to pay damages etc).

Right not to be discriminated against
Unfortunately, discrimination does happen. An area of employment law covers discrimination – and ensures that no one should be discriminated against in the workplace.

Redundancy rights

This can be quite a sensitive, difficult situation for any employer or employee. Employers and employees need to be aware or their redundancy rights.

The right of minimum wage
Sure you have heard of minimum wage, but do you know much about it? It is a legal requirement for all employers to pay all staff a minimum wage. This changes regularly and differs depending on what age the employee is. Up to date information can be found online.

Working time regulations

There are quite a lot of exceptions and anomalies when it comes to the working time regulation but generally an employee cannot work for more than 48 hours a week, they must have compulsory rest breaks and they are entitled to paid annual leave.

What to do
If you, as an employer or employee, ever find yourself in a situation that requires employment legal advice, contact a specialist employment law barrister who will be able to provide you with any information you may need. An employment law barrister can represent you in court, give you legal advice or draft up any documents you require.