Debt Collection in Wisconsin

Debt Collection in Wisconsin

You have rights and responsibilities under the law if you are being contacted by someone who wants to collect a debt.  If you are contacted, ask the name, address, and phone number of the company calling you.  Find out the name of the business you owe the money to, if different from the caller.  Get the exact amount they claim you owe to them.

If you dispute the debt, write to the collection agency within 30 days of receiving the initial notice and inform them that you are disputing the debt.  The collection agency must stop collection activity until a copy of the verification is sent to you.  If the debt cannot be verified, the collection agency must cease activity on your account.  A collection agency cannot initiate legal action on its own but can recommend legal action to the original creditor.

A collector cannot use obscene or threatening language with you.  It is considered harassment to contact you at unusual hours – usually defined as before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.  The collector can only contact your employer to verify employment or the amount of your earnings or after a final court judgment has been made on the debt.

Once your account goes into default, a creditor or collector can demand any amount they wish, up to full payment of the debt.  Although many collectors might accept smaller payments on a regular basis, they are not obligated to accept any offer you make them.

The collector cannot disclose or threaten to disclose information about your personal or credit reputation to anyone, without a legitimate business need to know it.  They can contact a third party only to determine if you reside at the location listed on your account.  If you’ve moved, they can also ask for the new address, phone number, and where you are employed.  Any further discussion between a third party and a collector is prohibited in Wisconsin.

If you have questions or concerns about a collection agency’s activities you can contact the Office of Consumer Affairs

Department of Financial Institutions

P.O. Box 8041

Madison, WI  53708-8041

(800) 452-3328 (Wisconsin residents only) or

(608) 264-7968

They can only act on complaints filed in writing or submitted through their website:  www.wdfi.org

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