Tennessee has one of the highest rates of bankruptcy in the country. It is for this reason that state legislature recently approved the Katie Beckett waiver, which aims to help families avoid excessive medical debt.
Bankruptcy can affect any family, even ones that have been extremely careful not to take on too much debt. A medical emergency or loss of employment can result in a family taking on an abundance of debt to stay afloat. Before filing for bankruptcy, many people hear a lot from debt collectors. You may already know some common lies debt collectors tell. Here are a few more to be wary of.
1. "We can embarrass you to your friends, family members and coworkers if you refuse to pay."
The truth is that you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The purpose of this law is to protect consumers from harassment and embarrassment. Debt collectors have no right to share your personal information with anyone, let alone your loved ones. In the event a debt collector does expose personal information, you can report it to the Better Business Bureau.
2. "We will garnish your wages if you do not pay immediately."
Wage garnishment is certainly possible, but it will only occur after a carefully-curated court process. Additionally, a debt collector cannot legally threaten to garnish your wages if the debt collection company has no intention on following through. In the event the company does want to pursue the process, you will receive a letter in the mail. A phone call is not enough.
3. "I do not have to prove you owe us a debt."
Shady debt collectors call people who do not actually owe anything; they just hope to scare people into paying. In the event you are unsure if you have a genuine debt, then you should ask for proof. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act contains Section 809, which requires the company to send you a debt validation letter and bill to prove you owe a debt.