Debt Collector Harassment in Des Moines, IA
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Des Moines, Iowa 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 Des Moines, Iowa
In addition to the federal laws, Iowa has adopted a Consumer Credit Code that protects Des Moines residents from debt collection harassment. Some of the rules that debt collectors must follow include:
- Clearly identifying themselves and stating that they are attempting to collect a debt
- No collect calls
- No calls at inconvenient times, with the intent to annoy
- Not threatening or using coercion, or abuse
- No contacting your employer or family members, other than to obtain your contact information
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 Des Moines 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 Des Moines, IA 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 Des Moines 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.
Some of the local collection agencies in the Des Moines area include AAMS, The CBE Group, and Accredited Collection Service. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a list of local debt collection agencies, as well as ratings and contact information.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Des Moines, Iowa?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Des Moines 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 Des Moines, IA by a debt collector? If so, it’s important to begin to gather evidence.
The Iowa Attorney General suggests that Des Moines residents document their interactions with debt collection agencies. Some of the recommended methods include:
- Keep copies of all written correspondence, especially payment agreements
- Request (in writing) that all future correspondence be by mail
- Keep a detailed record of the time, date, and content of all phone calls
- Send all correspondence by certified mail and keep proof of receipt
- Try to correspond primarily in writing, rather than by phone, as much as possible
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Des Moines 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 Des Moines, IA 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. Des Moines 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 Des Moines, IA debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you can show economic loss, such as lost wages, you may be able to recover those damages. If not, you may still be eligible for a $1,000 statutory remedy, plus reimbursement of attorney fees and court costs. Keep in mind, however, you may still have to pay the original debt. Because both federal and state laws address debt collection practices, your complaint could be brought in either federal or state court. Your Des Moines attorney can advise you whether to file in U.S. District Court or Iowa District Court.
Work With an Experienced Des Moines, Iowa Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Des Moines, IA 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 Iowa 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!