Harassment from debt collectors can come in a variety of ways. There are laws set by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that debt collectors are supposed to abide by, but some don’t. It is important when dealing with debt collectors to know what is illegal and how to deal with the harassment.
What are the Forms of Harassment?
Under the FDCPA, collectors are not allowed to harass, oppress, or abuse anyone. Some agencies are known to repeatedly harass people for their debts. Here are some examples of harassment you may experience.
– Not telling you who they are when they call.
– Threats of violence or harm.
– Publishing lists of those who are not paying their debts (this doesn’t apply to reporting to credit reporting company).
– Repetitious phone calls that are designed to annoy, harass or abuse you.
– Obscene language.
– No telling you if they are recording the call.
If you ever experience any of these forms of harassment, you need to alert the CFPB either online or by phone or your friendly consumer advocate. You can also tell the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s Attorney General.
Another thing that debt collectors are known to do is deceive or give you false information. This is also illegal under the FDCPA. Misrepresentation of the debt is forbidden and here are some ways that collectors will do so.
– Threats to do things that they legally cannot do.
– Lie and say they are an attorney.
– Falsely report the amount owed.
-Threatened to have you arrested.
How to Handle Harassment
Luckily, most debt collectors understand and abide by the law. Most of them are helpful and will work hand in hand to ensure you can pay off your debt in a method that works for you…. yeah right! Head for the hills and ALWAYS when a debt collector calls you tell them to stop calling you on the phone and to send you something in the mail then hang up the phone. If they contact you again after revoking your consent they have broken the law you could be entitled to up to $1,000 per violation and fees associated. Furthermore, if you find a worm in the apple of debt collectors, you need to know how to handle them.
1. Communicate: Send them a debt validation request letter “google it” and ask that they also not contact you by phone. Send this via certified mail with return receipt and keep a file or hire an expert that is results based only. $0 up front money.
2. Understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
3. Verify: As stated above in number 1, you must verify the debt. Some unfortunate people have debt reported on their credit reports that aren’t theirs. Always check to make sure it’s a valid debt.
4. Protect Yourself: If they ask you for your Social Security number or sensitive number without giving authenticity, never give it to them. There are a lot of debt collector scams.
The following is a summary of the FDCPA and can yield you not only compensation, but can be used to turn the tables on your debt collectors and will cause them to be forced into deleting the items in some cases. Once a debt has been deleted it cannot be reinserted even under another debt collection agency and if it does this too can yield statutory damages.
You aren’t alone in your troubles with harassing debt collectors. Over a third of Americans deal with debt collectors, and a percentage of them will deal with terrible collectors. Know your rights and don’t be afraid to tell them the law. Report the harassment to proper authorities.