Stop Creditor Harassment
It’s not uncommon to be contacted by bill collectors; it happens to most people at some point. Whether we fall behind on credit card payments, mortgage payments, or credit card bills, these letters or phone calls by creditors can become obnoxious, overbearing, and downright embarrassing. You have the power to stop creditor harassment.
Recognizing Creditor Harassment
It’s never okay for creditors or debt collectors to harass you over missed payments. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted by Congress to protect your rights under these very circumstances. Under the FDCPA, it is illegal for debt collectors to treat you in the following ways:
- Debt collectors are not allowed to call during unreasonable hours (before 8am or after 9pm).
- Creditors are forbidden from calling you repeatedly.
- Debt collectors are forbidden from contacting your employer or neighbors regarding your debt – but they may contact them to locate you.
- Creditors and debt collectors are required to disclose their identity when asked.
- Debt collectors are prohibited from using obscene, derogatory, or insulting remarks when in contact with you.
- They also cannot threaten your arrest, loss of child custody, or loss of welfare benefits.
- They may not engage in deceptive conduct, such as lying about your current debt situation or what company they work for.
- When sending you letters in the mail, debt collectors are not allowed to use any communication, language, or symbols on envelopes or postcards that indicate any letter is coming from a debt collector.
- Debt collectors are not allowed to publish your name in any news outlet.
- They are not allowed to threaten self-help repossession without intent to follow through.
You have many options when confronting harassment from debt collectors. Some possible solutions to stop harassing calls include:
- Pay off your debt – If you are financially able to make payments on your debt, do so. If you’re unable to make full payments, ask if it’s possible to make smaller payments.
- Send a written Cease Communications Letter – This does not absolve you of debt, but can stop creditor harassment.
- Filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission – Harassing debt collectors can get in trouble for using unlawful tactics.
- Filing a Lawsuit – These cases are tough to prove, but a judge could grant you money for damages if they are warranted. You have up to one your from the date of the violation to file a lawsuit.
- Filing Bankruptcy – This stops creditor harassment immediately because creditors are prohibited from taking any further actions to collect under the bankruptcy automatic stay.