Debt Collector Harassment in Wisconsin
Debt collector harassment is the intimidation, bullying, abuse, or coercion of consumers into paying off the money they owe. In Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin
Wisconsin supplements the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act with its own debt collection laws. Unlike the federal laws, Wisconsin law applies to anyone attempting to collect a debt, even the original creditor. Some of the state law prohibitions include:
- Threatening violence or criminal prosecution
- Contacting your employer, other than to confirm employment status
- Calling you before 8am or after 9pm
- Using obscene or threatening language
- Disclosing information about your debt to others
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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin , 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 collection agencies operating in Wisconsin. It can be a good idea to look up the agency that calls you, to make sure they are a legitimate company. One place to check would be the Better Business Bureau. Some of the local debt collection agencies include The Stark Agency, State Collection Service, and OAC Collection Specialists.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Harassed By a Debt Collector In Wisconsin?
Step 1: Know Your Rights
If you think Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin by a debt collector, it’s important to gather evidence. Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions provides some solid advice for documenting debt collector harassment. They suggest writing down the date and time of each call, and the caller’s name, phone number, and address. In addition, any proposed payment plans should be in writing. Most importantly, keep copies of all written correspondence between you and the collector.
Step 3: Remain Calm and Act Deliberately
When you’re being abused or harassed by a bullish Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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. Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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, your Wisconsin attorney can advise you on the best venue for your case. Your lawsuit could be filed in the U.S. District Court or in your county’s Circuit Court. Regardless of venue, there are numerous remedies available. You can claim damages for any economic loss, as well as statutory damages up to $1,000. In addition, under Wisconsin law, you may be eligible for compensation for emotional distress or mental anguish. However, winning your case will not necessarily mean that you don’t still owe the original debt.
Work With an Experienced Wisconsin Debt Collector Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve experienced debt collector harassment in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin 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!