If you are facing the unfortunate situation of being behind on your mortgage, car loan, credit cards or other bills, you may also discover that your phone is ringing – all the time. This can be due to debt collection harassment. The goal of this harassment is to bully, intimidate or annoy a consumer so they pay off their debt.
Harassment for debt collection often comes in different forms – texts, direct mail or email – however, it is most often done by repetitive, constant phone calls. The calls are designed to belittle and annoy the person holding the debt, as well as whoever may answer the phone. At the very worst, they may even use threats and profane language. In some cases, debt collectors go as far as to contact your neighbors, employer or friends about your debt, in an effort to humiliate you.
The good news is, you have rights. While a debt collection agency is legally allowed to collect the money that they are owed, they cannot legally use abusive tactics for collecting this debt. The consumer protection agency – The Federal Trade Commission – enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This prohibits any debt collector from using any type of unreasonable, abusive or deceptive practices in an attempt to collect an outstanding debt.
In reference to the Federal Trade Commission, which is the governing party that is responsible for regulating the debt collection practices and industry, there is no other industry that incurs more complaints than this one. The question is, what can you do about these harassing phone calls? If you are a victim of this, then you likely want some information that can make the calls stop.
Some tips to stop the harassing phone calls include:
- Review the rights you have by reading the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Maintain records that will help if you want to take legal action. This includes keeping all letters and other communication that is sent by the debt collection agency and writing down the times and dates of phone conversations.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protecting Bureau.
- You have the option to draft a letter to the debt collection agency.
- Contact the attorney general for the state.
- If the debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can sue.
It may also be wise to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When you do this and hire an attorney, they can begin taking the calls from creditors. This means your phone is going to stop ringing.
If you believe that you are being harassed, it may be wise to contact a bankruptcy attorney. More information about this can be acquired by contacting the Badgley Law Group.