What is the difference between debt collection and debt collector abuse?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Consumer Protection |

When someone borrows money or makes a purchase on credit, they have an obligation to make payments until they repay the principal balance that they borrowed and any fees or interest assessed. The companies that lend money to individuals have an interest in pushing them to repay what they owe in a timely manner.

Debt collection practices are a legal and even necessary part of doing business in the modern financial world. Companies must reach out to those who fall behind on payments or default on loans to recoup what they have lent and remain financially solvent. Sometimes, debt collection efforts cross the line into abusive conduct.

How can someone tell the difference between lawful debt collection and abusive debt collection practices?

Abusive practices often seek to intimidate or harass

It is lawful for those owed a debt or a company that purchases debt to reach out to an individual through the mail or via telephone. Some organizations even use social media to track people down and contact them.

Companies may call someone frequently, possibly as often as daily, to impress upon them the importance of catching up on missed payments. Sometimes, the frequency with which a company contacts an individual and the persuasive tactics used during such phone calls will cross the line between lawful debt collection efforts and harassment.

Examples of abusive debt collection practices include:

  • swearing at someone
  • threatening an individual or their family members
  • calling repeatedly
  • refusing to identify themselves
  • publish details of the debts owed

Additionally, those attempting to collect on a dead should abide by the law regarding when and where they contact an individual. If someone cannot receive personal calls at work, collectors aware of that restriction should no longer call them there. If someone informs a company that they work third shift, the company should not call at times when that individual would be sleeping because of their unusual work schedule.

Abusive debt collection practices violate someone’s rights

Those trying to push someone to repay a debt may become abusive and inappropriate in their attempts to be convincing. When a collection professional crosses the line and threatens someone or otherwise becomes abusive, the people affected by that misconduct will want to keep a record of the inappropriately timed calls and the threatening or inappropriate things that collection professionals say on the phone.

Holding companies accountable for abusive debt collection practices after seeking legal guidance may be the only way to get them to change how they attempt to collect debts.