If your phone has rung for the eighth time in a row because of collectors who won’t leave you alone or you keep getting calls at work demanding that you repay a debt, it can be embarrassing and upsetting. Many people don’t realize that creditors are restricted in how they can reach out to you and must not harass you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, or FDCPA, was put into place to help protect consumers against this kind of behavior. Debt collectors aren’t allowed to abuse, oppress or harass you or anyone else they contact. This includes behavior such as:
- Publishing a list of people who owe debts
- Calling you without stating who they are
- Using profane or obscene language
- Threatening you with harm or violence
- Repeatedly calling you with the intention to harass, abuse or annoy you or others answering your phone
Debt collectors aren’t allowed to misrepresent the debt you owe or use misleading practices to get you to pay. For example, the debt collectors can’t make false threats that you’ll be arrested. They also can’t lie about how much you owe or threaten you with illegal actions.
What can you do if you’re being harassed by a debt collector?
If you are being harassed by a debt collector, you do have options. Keep copies of all letters sent to you. If you can record the calls, keep a record of the calls. If you cannot, keep the debt collector’s name and company information whenever you can.
Write down the dates and times of conversations as well as notes about what you talked about so that you have records if you need to make a dispute or go to court.
How can bankruptcy help?
Bankruptcy can help because of the automatic stay. This restricts creditors from reaching out to you once they know you’re in bankruptcy.
If you go into bankruptcy, your bankruptcy and consumer protection lawyer can help make sure creditors aren’t crossing the line. If they do, then you may be able to make a civil suit against them for unfair debt collection methods that have violated your rights.