Debt Collector Harassment in Columbus, GA
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Columbus, Georgia 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 Columbus, Georgia
According to Georgia’s Consumer Protection Division, harassment by debt collectors can take many forms in Columbus. Some of these prohibited practices include:
- Implying you can be arrested
- Contacting you when they know you are represented by an attorney
- Calling continuously, and between 9:00pm and 8:00am
- Advertising your debt for sale
- Threatening to harm you, your reputation, or your property
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 Columbus 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 Columbus, GA 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 Columbus 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.
Georgia’s Department of Revenue provides a list of collection agencies that collect tax debt throughout the State. These companies include Financial Asset Management Systems, Inc and Revco Solutions.
The Better Business Bureau also lists accredited and non-accredited collection agencies in Columbus that work for a variety of clients. These agencies include Merchant Adjustment Service, Accurate Billing Service, and First Credit Services Inc.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Columbus, Georgia?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Columbus 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 Columbus, GA by a debt collector? If so, it’s important to begin to gather evidence.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector in Columbus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends keeping a file of all documents and emails received. Additionally, you should take notes during calls, and always get the caller’s name, employee ID, and company name. Furthermore, you should always save voicemail and text messages, even if they are upsetting. If the debt collector is calling from within Georgia, you may be able to record the call. This may be allowed because Georgia is a one-party consent state.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Columbus 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 Columbus, GA 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. Columbus 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 Columbus, GA debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
If you live in Columbus, your harassment case could begin in the US District Court, Middle District of Georgia. Alternatively, your case could begin in Muscogee County Magistrate Court if damages claimed are less than $15,000. When determining where to file, consulting with an experienced Columbus attorney can be extremely beneficial. Keep in mind, you only have one year from when the harassment occurred to sue for damages, due to the statute of limitations.
Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission states that you could be awarded up to $1,000 even if you can’t prove damages. You may also be reimbursed for court and attorney fees. Furthermore, if you can prove damages, such as lost wages or medical bills, you might be awarded even more.
Work With an Experienced Columbus, Georgia Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Columbus, GA 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 Georgia 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!