How to Handle Harassing Credit Collectors
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it is against the law for credit collectors to harass the people that they contact for credit collection purposes. However, it is not against the law for a credit collector to contact people in general. Credit collection phone calls are not illegal themselves, but if the credit collector on the other end of the line is contacting you in a harassing manner, then the harassing behavior is against the law.
How to tell the difference between a perfectly legal telephone call and a harassing telephone call:
- If a credit collector is constantly calling you and intentionally annoying, harassing and abusing the person that answers the telephone.
- If a credit collector calls you at work.
- If a credit collector speaks obscenities and profanity.
- If a credit collector threatens to harm the person that answers the telephone with violence.
- If a credit collector publicly publishes your name and contact information for refusing to pay your debts.
- If a credit collector calls you but does not identify themselves.
Tips to stop harassment from credit collectors
- Record Communication: Try to keep communication between yourself and the credit collector in writing. Save anything that you receive in the mail and if the credit collector leaves voice mail that constitutes harassment, save those messages as well. They’ll come in handy later if this becomes a legal matter. Also, after speaking with a harassing credit collector, keep a written log of what was said over the telephone as best as you can recall.
- Verify Debt: Within 30 days of being contacted by a credit collector, send them a certified letter requesting validation of the debt that they are contacting you for. If they don’t send you anything back or send you something that is not legitimate, they have broken the law.
- Pay the Debt: If the debt is in fact legitimate, then try to work out an arrangement to settle the debt. Some collectors may be willing to work with you, while other collectors will remain nasty in regards to your debt and may not be willing to work with you at all.
- Reporting the Collector: If you feel that you have tried everything to solve this issue, whether or not the debt is legitimate, a credit collector does not have the right to harass you, so you’ll want to take legal action. This is why keeping everything in writing (Recording Communication) is extremely important and will help your case if you have a case. If the credit collector has not sent you a verification letter, sent a bogus letter, is calling you at work, or is harassing you, then these things are illegal and you need to report them.
Stop The Harassment
If you find yourself in a situation where you are constantly harassed by a credit collector, this is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You will want to report this violation by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and your states Attorney General. You also have the right to take legal action against the collection agency with the help of an attorney who specializes in these matters. Contact us at Jeanne Marie Cella if you find yourself in a situation where you are being harassed.