Companies large and small will sometimes go to any length to collect unpaid debts from customers. Sometimes, their collection attempts rise to the level of harassment and may violate a number of laws designed to prevent illegal collection attempts. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is one such protection.
Most consumers do not realize that the debt collectors are violating the law. Consumers should know that debt collectors must follow the rules of debt collections as established by state and federal law.
What is prohibited?
- Calling the debtor at any time of the day and or night is not legal. Debt collection telephone calls are precluded before 8:00 am and after 9:00 pm.
- Insulting and profane language directed at the consumer from the debt collector is forbidden. Debt collectors may do this to make the consumer upset and scared; to fear the consumer into paying the debt.
- Debt collectors must not go to the consumer’s workplace and harass the debtor into paying the debt. Public shaming and embarrassing the consumer in front of his or her employer is not the proper way to collect a debt.
- Contacting friends and family of the debtor and telling them that a debt is owed and not being paid is contrary to the law. Without the debtor’s permission, the friends, family, and employers of the debtor cannot be told about the debt.
- Threatening legal action against the debtor that the debt collector and or company is not legally entitled to pursue is also contrary to the law. If there is no legal basis under which the debt collector may repossess property or garnish wages, than the threat against the debtor cannot be made.
If any of the above is being done to a consumer, be aware that such is a form of harassment and is illegal. Here is a list of other FDCPA Rules and Guidelines that are prohibited.
Life can return to normal by receiving a little help. Avoiding answering the phone can become a thing of the past. Throwing mail into a pile never to be opened is no longer necessary. Sleepless nights and tired days will be over. Stress, anxiety, depression, and perhaps the need for medication will no longer be a problem.
The first thing a debtor can do to stop harassing collection attempts is to tell the collector to cease contact. Tell them when they call, and follow up by writing a letter to the collector that demands an end to the harassment. Keep a copy of the letter and a record of all communications received from the collection agency.
Once the debt collector receives the notice, he or she is precluded from contacting the debtor again unless the contact is to acknowledge the letter, informing the debtor that contact will stop. Note, however, if the collector is legally entitled to pursue legal action against the debtor, such can be communicated and continued.
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.