Debt Collector Harassment in Lancaster, PA
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania 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 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act bolsters existing federal debt collection law. Specifically, the legal restrictions on debt collectors also apply to the original creditors. This means neither a Lancaster creditor nor a Lancaster debt collector can engage in abusive practices, including:
- Using obscenities or profanity
- Implying you will be arrested for nonpayment
- Calling between 9:00pm and 8:00am
- Trying to collect on a debt already paid
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 Lancaster 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 Lancaster, PA 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 Lancaster 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.
Pennsylvania does not require collection agencies to be licensed by the State. Therefore, it can be advisable to look up any debt collector that calls, since there are a lot of scammers pretending to be collection agencies. The Better Business Bureau keeps a list of accredited and non-accredited collection agencies operating in and around Lancaster, including:
- Lendmark Financial Services
- Apex Asset Management LLC
- BRG Recovery
- Penn Credit Corporation
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Lancaster, Pennsylvania?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Lancaster 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 Lancaster, PA by a debt collector? If so, it’s important to begin to gather evidence.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau you should document all correspondence with debt collectors in Lancaster. Specifically, you should save letters, envelopes, voicemail messages, texts, and emails. Additionally, you should always get the caller’s name, and the company’s name and address. Also, remember to log the date and time of call, and what was said. Be aware, you can’t record these calls, unless the debt collector agrees. This is because Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Lancaster 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 Lancaster, PA 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. Lancaster 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 Lancaster, PA debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
Because both federal and state laws may apply, you may have a choice of where to file your Lancaster harassment suit. Specifically, you may file your suit in the US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania or the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas. An experienced Lancaster attorney can help you decide the best jurisdiction for your case.
According to The Federal Trade Commission, the Court could award damages up to $1,000 and reimburse your attorney fees and court costs. If you can prove damages, such as medical bills or lost wages, you might even be awarded more. Be aware that even if you win your harassment case, you may still be liable for the original debt.
Work With an Experienced Lancaster, Pennsylvania Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Lancaster, PA 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 Pennsylvania 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!