Debt Collector Harassment in Pennsylvania
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In 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 Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act expands upon federal law. Specifically, the legal restrictions on debt collectors also apply to the original creditors. This means neither a Pennsylvania creditor nor a Pennsylvania collection agency can engage in any illegal harassment including:
- Threatening you with violence or harm
- Calling you at unusual times and places, before 8am or after 9pm
- Publishing a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts
- Using obscene or profane language
- Implying that you have committed a crime and will be arrested
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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania , 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. However, the Better Business Bureau keeps a list of accredited and non-accredited collection agencies in Pennsylvania, including:
- PrimeCore Group
- Payment Processing
- Nationwide Credit Inc
- Advantage Collections Inc
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Pennsylvania?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Pennsylvania 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
If you’ve been harassed in Pennsylvania by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau you should document paper and electronic contact with debt collectors. Specifically, you should save letters, voicemail messages, text messages, and even print copies of emails. Additionally, you should always get the name and employee ID of the caller, and the company’s name and address. Also remember to keep a record of the time of call, and what was said. Keep in mind, 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 apply, you may file your civil suit in either a US District Court or a Pennsylvania State Court. When determining the optimal jurisdiction, consulting with a Pennsylvania attorney is advisable. Keep in mind, due to a statute of limitations you only have one year from the time the harassment occurred to sue for damages. According to The Federal Trade Commission, the Court could award damages up to $1,000 and reimburse your attorney and court fees. If you can prove damages, such as medical bills or lost wages, you might even be awarded more.
Work With an Experienced Pennsylvania Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Pennsylvania, 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!