When you own someone a debt, they have a legal right to collect that debt, and you have the legal responsibility to pay that debt. What creditors do not have, however, is the right to harass or threaten you when attempting to collect a debt.
Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet during these trying economic times. As a result of this, more and more people are falling behind on their debts, and creditors are going to extraordinary, often illegal ends to try to collect from cash-strapped debtors. This has led to an explosion in the number of complaints of creditor harassment and abuses.
Abusive, deceptive and deceptive debt collection tactics have sadly become the new normal for many debt collection agencies. To combat this, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which gives consumers the right to sue any creditor or collection agency that has harassed or otherwise committed unfair collection actions as defined by the Act.
If a debt collector has committed any of the following actions while attempting to collect a debt from you, they have violated the Act and are subject to both federal and state enforcement action as well as a civil lawsuit:
- No deceit. The debt collector cannot misrepresent the debt or impose additional fees. The debt collector is allowed to collect only the amount owned, and must make a full presentation of that amount in communications with the debtor.
- No harassing phone calls. Collections agencies can call only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., cannot call repeatedly on the same day (which constitutes harassment) and must never contact you in any way if you give then written notice to no longer contact you. Exceptions to this include such things as notice that the collector will be pursuing other collection activities such as a lawsuit.
- No threatening or obscene language. The debt collector cannot call and threaten you or use obscene language in an attempt intimidate you.
- No contacting the debtor at their place of work in attempt to embarrass or humiliate them.
- No contacting a debtor who has obtain legal representation to deal with the creditor. Once you hire a lawyer to deal with the debt collector, the collector can no longer contact you directly.
- Communicating with third parties. Your debt is your business. Debt collectors are not allowed to disclose or discuss your debt with any third party with the exception of a spouse.
- Intentionally reporting false information on a debtor’s credit report. Debt collectors are not allowed to report false information to a credit bureau or to threaten to do so.
Consumers do not have to tolerate harassment from debt collectors.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector, contact us today to put an end to that harassment.