What types of debt collection practices are prohibited?

Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person. For example, debt collectors may not:

  • falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives.
  • falsely imply that you have committed a crime;
  • falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau;
  • misrepresent the amount of your debt;
  • misrepresent the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt;
  • indicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not;
  • indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are.

Debt collectors also may not state that:

  • you will be arrested if you do not pay your debt;
  • they will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or credit intends to do so, and it is legal to do so (garnishment is currently prohibited in South Carolina for the collection of most debts);
  • actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you, which legally may not be taken, or which they do not intend to take.

Debt collectors may not:

  • give false credit information about you to anyone;
  • send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not;
  • use a false name.

Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices in attempting to collect a debt. For example, collectors may not:

  • collect any amount greater than your debt, unless allowed by law;
  • deposit a post-dated check prematurely;
  • make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams;
  • take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally;
  • contact you by postcard.

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