Debt Collector Harassment in West Virginia
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In West Virginia 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 West Virginia
West Virginia residents are protected from debt collector harassment by both federal and state laws. According to the West Virginia Consumer Protection Alliance, debt collectors cannot employ abusive tactics to collect a debt. This can include multiple calls, obscene language, and threats against person, property, or reputation. In addition, collection agencies are required to maintain accurate records of debt collection attempts. Furthermore, you have a right to privacy, so a debt collector cannot disclose your debt to your employer, family, or friends.
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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia , 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.
There are hundreds of debt collection agencies operating in the West Virginia area. Some of these include Dignity Recovery Services, CCS Collections, and Capital Recovery Systems. It’s a good idea to look up the agency that calls you, to make sure they are not a scam. The Better Business Bureau can be a good place to start.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In West Virginia?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think West Virginia 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 West Virginia by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. The more diligent you are about keeping records, the stronger your case will be if you end up going to court. Some suggestions from the National Consumer Law Center include:
- Keep copies of all written correspondence
- Send any letters by certified mail, and keep the return receipt
- Try to communicate in writing as much as possible
In addition, it’s a good idea to keep a record of all phone calls you receive from the collection agency. Take note of the date, time, caller’s name, and the content of the call.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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. West Virginia 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 West Virginia debt collector attorney, you have a better chance of winning the lawsuit and getting financial compensation for abuses such as phone harassment.
Debt collection violation cases can be filed in either federal or state court. Your West Virginia attorney can help determine whether U.S. District Court or the local Circuit Court is the best venue. Keep in mind, however, that your case must begin within one year of the illegal debt collection action. Your recovery could include damages for any economic losses that you suffered. In addition, you may be able to obtain statutory relief of $1,000 as well as court costs and attorney’s fees.
Work With an Experienced West Virginia Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia 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!