Unfortunately, debt collector harassment is a serious issue that affects many people. Most people go into debt with genuine intentions to pay it back or because we had recently gone through an unexpected event. There is no excuse for credit or harassment.
Overly repetitive phone calls, threats, and other tactics can be considered creditor harassment. What is so unfortunate about creditors abusing their power is they can actually cause so much stress that someone’s health suffers. After all, being reminded that you still have outstanding debts can be overwhelming in itself.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
When debt collectors violate the rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), they can be found guilty of harassment, abuse, or oppression. It is considered harassment when debt collectors use profane language, place repetitive phone calls or electronic communications, publish names of people who have refused to pay their debts, and call without telling you their name.
The FDCPA also states that debt collectors cannot use deceptive, false, or misleading practices. This includes misrepresentation regarding the debt, such as the amount owed, false threats of being arrested, and threats to do actions that cannot legally be done.
Unexpected Consequences of Harassment
Sadly, there can be more consequences of harassment than just the action in itself. Being placed under so much pressure can cause someone to be part of a personal injury accident. For instance, if a debt collector constantly calls and interrupts someone on their drive to work and then an accident ensues, a person can suffer injury when they would otherwise not have.
These consequences of harassment are unexpected, but connected, since the debtor would probably have gotten to work safely if not for these unrelenting and pestering phone calls or messages.
Such situations may warrant speaking with a personal injury lawyer. Harassing a person in an overly aggressive way can do more harm than good, and does not foster a good relationship between creditor and debtor.
Keeping Records of Contact
If you keep being bothered by a debt collector, it helps to make a record of when they’ve contacted you. Find an organized way to note down when they send you letters, make phone calls, leave voicemails, or find other ways to communicate with you. Write down times and dates of these conversations, in addition to what you discussed.
These records can help if you are disputing the debt, going to court, or are considering meeting with a lawyer to take action against them. Be careful of what you say to a debt collector, because they will keep records of exchanges as well.
Debt collection harassment is a serious issue that impacts so many people across the nation, and globally. Despite going into debt due to unexpected events or to advance oneself, creditors all too often abuse those who have decided to use this resource. The impacts of debt collector harassment go beyond the moment itself, and can actually lead to the worsening of a debtor’s health and wellbeing.
Can debt collectors get in trouble for harassment?
Yes, debt collectors can get in trouble for harassment if they violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which offers consumers protection against abusive collection practices. Penalties for violations can include fines, restrictions on their operation, or even imprisonment in extreme cases. Source
What actions by a debt collector are considered harassment?
Actions such as relentless phone calls, threats of harm or violence, using abusive language, making false statements about the amount you owe or legal action being taken against you, and calling at inconvenient times are all considered harassment. It’s important to note that the harassment doesn’t have to be malicious or intentional; any act that’s more aggressive than necessary for collecting the debt can be deemed harassing. Source
How many calls a day from a debt collector is considered harassment?
Receiving multiple calls a day from a debt collector may be considered harassment, especially if it disrupts your daily life. According to the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot call you repetitively or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass you or any person answering the phone. Source
What legal actions can a consumer take if they experience harassment during debt collection?
A consumer can file a lawsuit against the debt collection agency if they experience harassment, as per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They might be entitled to damages, attorney’s fees, and costs if they win. Additionally, they can report the harassment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and their state’s attorney general. Source
How are debt collectors legally allowed to collect debts without resorting to harassment?
Debt collectors are legally allowed to collect debts by following fair practices outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This includes contacting the debtor via mail, phone, or in person at reasonable hours, and obtaining validation of the debt. They are also permitted to report the owed debt to credit reporting agencies. Source
What steps should be taken to report harassment by debt collectors?
To report harassment by debt collectors, start by submitting a formal complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) online, via phone, or by mail. It’s also advised to contact your state’s attorney general office. Keep a detailed record of all your interactions with the debt collector, including dates, times, and specifics of the conversation. Source
Can a consumer sue a debt collection agency for harassment and what kind of compensation could they expect to receive?
Yes, a consumer can sue a debt collection agency for harassment under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The compensation varies, but they may be able to recover actual damages, statutory damages up to $1,000, and potentially their attorney’s fees and court costs. Source