Companies and debt collection agencies have the law on their side when they legally attempt to collect past due amounts from consumers. However, federal and state laws draw a line in the sand that which a collection agency cannot cross when collecting from debtors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is one such federal act which helps to protect consumers’ rights.
When a debtor tells the collection agency to stop the calls, the company must stop. Additionally, collection agencies must not verbally abuse, swear, or make threats of legal actions that cannot be taken at or against the debtor.
Harassing activities made against debtors is illegal. The government can punish the wrongdoer and the debtor can even sue the collections company for damages in a civil court.
Times have been tough, you cannot pay on your debt, you are a good person facing hard times but the collections agency does not want to hear anything but the sound of you filling out a check or providing your account details over the phone. In fact, the collector routinely verbally abuses you and calls over and over, at all times of the day.
A debtor in this situation should be proactive and start gathering evidence so that a harassment claim against the collector can be successful.
Start with documenting the name of the collection agency and the name of the collector that has called you. Make a record that details the dates and times of all calls you have received. If you cannot recall, try contacting your phone company to see if they have records for you. Remember that your cell phone has a log of incoming, outgoing, and missed phone calls. So sometimes, getting the information you need is no more than having to reach into your pocket. If all else fails, approximate the best you can.
Keep all the letters you have received. Not just from one company, but from all the collection agencies that have contacted you. If you sent correspondence, keep copies of that too.
In regard to the debt collector harassment, write down all that was said to you. Do not be shy to write down the cursing and the threats. Make note of the tone and volume of the collector’s voice.
Additionally, consider making note of:
- Your thoughts when being harassed.
- How the harassment made you feel; scared, depressed, anxious, nauseous, embarrassed, etc.
- Losing sleep.
- Weight loss and or gain.
- The medications you had to receive as a result of the stress from collections calls and harassment.
- Witnesses. People that overheard the harassment.
- Friends and family members who may have been contacted by the collection agency.
- Whether or not the collections agency contacted you at work and or if the collector called your employer.
- Any and everything related to collections activities.
If you or anyone you know has been subjected to an abusive, deceptive, or unfair debt collection effort by any business or firm, contact the Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center for a FREE evaluation to learn how you can protect your rights and get your attorneys’ fees paid.