Debt collectors often use unsavory tactics to try to strong-arm debtors into making payments. When there is no money available to make payments, debtors who are being harassed by collectors may be continuously called at home, work or even at the homes of friends or family members. These tactics are designed to scare or embarrass people and may be illegal. When illegal debt collection methods are used, debtors often have the option to sue the debt collector. Understanding what is acceptable and what constitutes harassment when it comes to collecting on a debt is the first step in stopping the harassment.
What Counts As Harassment
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers provisions that are intended to protect debtors from harassment. These provisions help to define what is acceptable when it comes to debt collection, and unfair practices are considered to be prohibited. Examples of debt collection techniques that are prohibited under the FDCPA include:
- Calling multiple times a day for the purpose of harassing the debtor or another person in the household of the debtor
- Use of threats, obscenity or profane language when attempting to collect a debt
- Informing the debtor that they will be subject to imprisonment if they are not able to make payments
- Releasing lists of debtors to the public
- Refusing to identify themselves as a debt collector when contacting a debtor
- Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Calling an employer if the collector has been informed that they are not allowed to do so
- Falsely claiming to be a legal professional or a representative of law enforcement
Debt collectors are also prohibited from making contact with a debtor after the debtor has sent a cease and desist communication. Debtors are advised to send these letters through certified mail in order to obtain proof that the debt collector has received the communication.
Steps to Sue a Debt Collector
If debt collectors have used any of the illegal tactics outlined above, debtors have the right to file a lawsuit. These steps help debtors navigate the process of suing a debt collector to get them to stop the harassment. Compensation may also be collected in some situations.
The first step is to keep a thorough record of any violations of the FDCPA. A debt collector can be fined up to $1,000 for each violation, so having an accurate record of the time of the violation and a description of the incident is important.
As soon as a debt collector violates the FDCPA, it is necessary to contact a lawyer. Legal professionals who specialize is cases related to unfair debt collection practices are able to help their clients navigate through filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Once legal action has been taken, debt collectors will generally cut off all communication to avoid repercussions. The harassment will soon stop, and compensation can be pursued.
Dealing with debt collectors is even more difficult when these collectors use threats, harassment and other unsavory practices to try to scare debtors. Keeping a record of harassing behavior and contacting a legal professional to file a complaint is the best course of action to stop the harassment and move forward.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin at [email protected] for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your credit rights as a consumer, visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com for informative, how to videos on consumer financial protection. We are here to fight for you. Call us today! 888-293-2882