Debt Collector Harassment in Columbia, SC
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Columbia, South Carolina 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 in Columbia, South Carolina
South Carolina’s Department of Consumer Affairs provides examples of harassment that might occur in Columbia. Fortunately, both creditors and debt collectors are forbidden from harassing debtors in Columbia. Harassment that is prohibited by law includes:
- The use of profane or obscene language
- Pretending they work for a credit bureau
- Calling continuously, or between 9:00pm and 8:00am
- Using a false name
- Advertise a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts
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 Columbia 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 and other Illegal Debt Collection Practices 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 any Columbia, SC debt collectors 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 in Columbia 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.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector in Columbia, it is always a good idea to check on their legitimacy. The Better Business Bureau provide a list of accredited and non-accredited collection agencies operating in Columbia, including:
- Receivable Solutions LLC
- AMCOL Systems Inc
- Williams & Fudge Inc
- Todd, Bremer & Lawson Inc
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Columbia, South Carolina?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Columbia debt collectors are harassing you, then it’s important to become familiar with the Basics of 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
Have you been harassed in Columbia, SC by a debt collector? If so, it’s important to begin to gather evidence.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends Columbia debtors keep proof of all harassment, even if it is disturbing. Specifically, you should keep a file of all paper correspondence, as well as save voicemail messages, emails, and text messages. Additionally, you should always log the caller’s name and employee ID, company name and address, and the time of call. If possible, take comprehensive notes during each call. Alternatively, you may be able to record the conversation, since South Carolina is a one-party consent state. However, this only applies if the debt collector is calling from within the state.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Columbia 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 Columbia, SC 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.
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. Columbia attorneys that understand What to Expect When Suing for Debt Collection Harassment, and local debt collection laws, can help you 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 Columbia, SC debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
It’s advisable to consult an experienced Columbia attorney when deciding where to file your debt collector harassment case. Specifically, your case could be filed in the US District Court, or in Richland County Circuit Court. Depending on damages claimed, you might even file in Richland County Magistrates Court.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that a debt collector paid a record $1 million civil penalty for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. However, in most cases you can expect to be awarded only up to $1,000 and be reimbursed for attorney and court fees. If you can prove damages, such as lost wages or medical bills, the Court may award you more.
Work With an Experienced Columbia, South Carolina Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Columbia, SC 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? We can even help you connect with an attorney across South Carolina state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!