Debt collectors have a challenging job, and due to this, they will often take things to extreme levels in an attempt to collect debt payments. While some of these extreme practices are allowed under the law, some actions cross the line and are illegal.
Knowing the difference between what is legal and illegal for a debt collector to do is difficult, but it keeps you protected. If you have been dealing with an abusive debt collector whose actions have crossed the line and are being harassed, there are legal remedies for you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a set of laws that were enacted to protect debtors from abusive debt collection agencies. The FDCPA sets guidelines such as when a debt collector may call you, how often they may call you, and the language they may use while communicating with a debtor.
If the debt collection agency is being run properly, they will adhere to all of the rules included in the FDCPA, but if an agency does not adhere to these rules, they can be punished. For instance, debt collectors must refrain from harassing debtors and calling them in the middle of the night, and if a debt collector does so, they can be sued by the debtor.
What are the Most Common Types of Harassment by a Debt Collector?
The most common form of harassment by a debt collection agency is repeated and continual calling practices. The FDCPA allows debt collection agencies to call a debtor at max one time per day per debt. If a debt collector calls their debtor more than one time per debt in a day without their permission, this is harassment.
The second most common form of harassment occurs when a debt collector uses vulgar or abusive language during their collections call. This means that your debt collector must be cordial with you, and if they threaten you or use profanity, they are harassing you.
The third most common type of harassment is the time when a debt collector makes their call. The FDCPA limits phone calls from debt collectors from 8:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. A debt collector is not allowed to call you outside of this time frame, and if they do, you have the right to file a complaint and sue them.
What to Do If A Debt Collector is Harassing You
If a debt collector is harassing you, your rights are being violated, and you are eligible for financial compensation for the trouble. In order to stop the harassment and sue the debt collection agency for damages, you will need to do the following:
- Make a note of the dates and times when the abuse occurred, and be sure to note the name of the representative who was on the phone.
- Check the FDCPA or speak with an attorney to see if the debt collector’s actions were improper.
- File a complaint with your state Attorney General’s Office or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If you want to pursue a harassment suit against the debt collector, you will need to hire an attorney. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can stop the harassment and assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Will Filing a Complaint Stop the Harassment?
While you need to file a complaint against a debt collector who is harassing you, filing a complaint does not equate to your problem being solved. When a complaint is filed, the course of action is for an agency to compile the complaint with others in an effort to build up a case of fraud and abuse.
Simply filing a complaint with an agency or a State Attorney General does not mean that they will actively work to resolve the harassment for your situation. Instead, you will need to work with an attorney to file a lawsuit against the debt collection agency.
Filing a Lawsuit Against A Debt Collector
All debt collectors are required to abide by the rules outlined in the FDCPA, and when they do not follow these rules, they are susceptible to lawsuits. If you are dealing with a debt collector who is acting improperly and harassing you, you have the right to sue them.
Taking a debt collector to court supersedes the complaint you file. It allows you to obtain a court order directing the debt collection agency from continuing to mistreat you. Then, in addition to finally obtaining some peace and quiet, you are also entitled to financial compensation from the debt collection agency.
Debt collection agencies who illegally harass their debtors are liable for up to $1000 in compensation as well as they are also required to pay any attorney and court fees. If a debt collector is harassing you, contact attorney John Skiba at Jackson White Law today to schedule a consultation.
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