What is Debt Collector Harassment?
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. There are two things to consider when thinking about debt collection: harassment and misrepresentation. The presence of either of these things constitutes debt collector harassment and may require you to take legal action against the collector.
Debt Collector Harassment
Harassment can happen in many ways, but it essentially boils down to debt collectors oppressing, abusing, or harassing you or anyone else they contact. Have some of these examples of debt harassment below impacted you as well?
- Calling you without letting you know who they are or what they want
- Repetitive phone calls that are meant to annoy or abuse the person they are calling
- Threats of violence or any type of harm
- Publishing lists on a public forum of people who have not paid their debts
- Using obscene language when in contact with you
If you are a victim of any of these examples of harassment, you may have a right to sue the debt collector for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). An experienced attorney can help you identify your options and build a strong case.
Misrepresentations by a debt collector refer to someone making false claims or accusations or using false, deceptive, or misleading practices. This also includes misrepresenting any debt you may have. See some examples of this below:
- The amount of money you owe
- False threats saying they will have you arrested
- Saying they are an attorney if they aren’t one
- Threats to do something that the debt collector has no intention of doing
- Threats to take actions that are not within the confines of the law
If you think a debt collector may have misrepresented themselves to you, it’s important to remember that you have options. Get in contact with an attorney that understands debt collector law.
Who Are Debt Collectors?
Most people don’t know what a debt collector is until they have one incessantly calling them about paying off debt. So, who are debt collectors? Who do they work for?
Collectors come from a debt collection agency that works with creditors who are owed debts. If you have outstanding debt, such as credit debt, unpaid loans, and personal loans, your creditor may contact a debt collection agency. This agency then assigns a debt collector to your case.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector?
When people receive harassment by debt collectors, they often feel helpless or as if they have completely run out of options. Use the steps below to reclaim your power and exercise your consumer rights.
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think a debt collector is harassing you, then it’s important to become familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from collection agencies. If a debt collector violates any of the harassment or misrepresentation rules, the victim has a right to sue the collector for violation of the FDCPA.
Step 2: Collect Records
If you’ve been harassed by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. These include phone records, as well as documentation of what was said during phone conversations or messages. Collecting evidence will play a crucial role in your case if you choose to go to court against the debt collector.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a debt collector, it’s easy to get angry and act impulsively. Unfortunately, this can cause you to say or do something detrimental to your case. Instead, try to remain calm and make all your actions deliberate and well-thought-out. Not only will this be better for keeping your stress levels low, but it will prove helpful if you go to court. You can show that you were respectful and calm while the debt collector was the one using abusive language.
Step 4: Ask for Debt Verification
If you’re constantly getting phone calls from debt collectors harassing you about what you owe, you need to ask for debt verification. Not only will this show whether or not they are misrepresenting your debt, but the debt collector must also stop contacting you until they provide the information you requested. Debt verification should show the amount of debt you owe and the name of the creditor. You have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt. If you don’t dispute the debt, the creditor will assume the debt is valid. During this time, you should consult with an attorney to decide on the next course of action before they start harassing you again.
Step 5: Contact an Attorney
If you’re the victim of debt collector harassment, it’s time to stand up and fight back. You deserve to live a life free from abusive and repetitive phone calls. An attorney that understands debt collection laws can help make this possible. If the debt collector threatens to or does take legal action regarding your outstanding debts, working with an attorney becomes even more important.
Step 6: Present Your Case
By hiring an experienced debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation. Many attorneys suspend the payment of fees until and even unless you win your case, which reduces the risk you take. If you win the case, you can use the money remaining after paying fees to boost your savings, contribute to debts still outstanding or for any other purpose you choose.
Work With an Experienced Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment, it’s time to put an end to it so you can move forward with life. There are laws in place to protect consumers from debt collectors. Legal assistance can help you to navigate these complex laws and defend yourself in court, if necessary.
Are you ready to find a debt collector attorney near you so you can finally fight back against the harassment?
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!