can be brutal. Collectors may call you at all hours of the night, call your workplace, call you vulgar names, and threaten you or your family. You do not have to stand for it. There are things you can do to stop collection harassment, even if you do owe an outstanding balance.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect consumers from creditors that took part in offensive and harassing behavior. It prohibits debt collectors from engaging in a wide variety aggressive and abusive behavior. It specifies that it prevents third party debt collectors, not original creditors, but some state laws have separate laws protecting consumers further from original creditors.
FDCPA Debt Collector Requirements
- They must identify themselves.
- Notify the consumer that information they provide will be used to collect the debt.
- Provide verification of the debt.
- They cannot call outside of the hours of 8:00am and 9:00pm.
- They cannot repeatedly and continuously call.
- They cannot call your workplace and speak to your superiors or co-workers.
- They cannot publicly post your private financial information.
- Many more harassing behaviors are prohibited. Speak to your attorney about your experiences.
How to Stop the Harassment
The first step to stop harassment is to speak to a qualified debt attorney. They would be able to send a letter to the agency that will require them to cease all communication with you directly. A debt collector is not allowed to speak to you directly when an attorney represents you. Document any additional direct or indirect contact they have with you. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Violations of the FDCPA are a strict liability law. That means that you do not have to prove any actual damages and you could be awarded money and attorneys fees just because the debt collector violated this federal law.