Debt affects millions of people in this country. Between job loss, medical bills, and student loan debts that follow people around for decades, it can be incredibly difficult to get out of debt.
To make matters more stressful, many people also experience aggressive debt collection efforts from collection agents. Too often, collection efforts cross a line from assertive to harassing. In these situations, consumers must know that there are legal protections in place.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) dictates what third-party collection agents can and cannot do when attempting to collect a debt.
This law prohibits harassing behaviors, including:
- Calling consumers repeatedly to bother or inconvenience them
- Calling consumers very early or very late at night
- Using abusive language
- Making threats
- Lying about the debt in questions
- Calling a person’s workplace after being instructed not to
- Failing to identify the debt owed correctly
- Discussing debt with a person’s neighbors, relatives or friends
Not only are these actions a violation of the FDCPA, but they can also cause incredible stress and fear in consumers.
What can you do?
Being harassed by debt collectors can make every phone call or letter in the mail stressful. It can make a person feel embarrassed or scared, which means that they do not always feel comfortable talking to someone about it.
However, you have rights worth protecting. If a creditor is harassing you, you can file a complaint with agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
You can also sue the debt collector for damages.
These measures can stop creditor harassment and compensate victims. Keep in mind that you should have evidence to support your claims against a creditor. Retain all voicemails and written correspondence from the creditor; make a record of every call, including the time and frequency; keep notes about the conversation and any threatening or abusive language used.
This may seem overwhelming, especially when you are dealing with debt and other difficult circumstances. However, you can call The Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222 to discuss your case. You do not have to deal with debt collection harassment alone.