Debt Collector Harassment in Washington, D.C.
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C.
Debt collection practices in Washington, D.C. are governed by both District and federal law. The D.C. Attorney General’s Office provides information on illegal debt collection techniques. Some of these include:
- Calling you repeatedly, with the intent to harass
- Calling your employer or family, other than just to obtain your contact information
- If they Call you before 8am or after 9pm
- Using abusive or obscene language
- Threatening harm or arrest you
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 Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. , 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.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) lists nearly 700 debt collection agencies in the Washington, D.C. area. Many of these are accredited and rated by the BBB, and all have some contact information. Some of these local companies include Suburban Credit Corporation, Universal Envoy Corporation, and United Consumers.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Washington, D.C.?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. There are many steps you can take to document debt collector harassment. Some of the advice from the National Consumer Law Center includes keeping copies of all letters that you send or receive. If you do send a letter, send it by certified mail, and keep a copy with the return receipt. Try to communicate in writing as much as possible, but keep a log of all phone calls. Note the date, time, and content of the call as well as the name of the person you spoke with.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. 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. Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. 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 D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, you could sue a debt collector for violations in either D.C. or federal court. However, you must do so within one year from the date the law was violated. Under federal law, you can recover $1,000 plus any damages, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees. In addition, a group of people suing one debt collector can recover up to $500,000. Alternatively, under D.C. code, you could recover $1,500 per violation, as well as punitive damages. However, D.C. law does not currently apply to medical or credit card debt collections.
Work With an Experienced Washington, D.C. Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Washington, D.C., 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 Washington, D.C. 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!