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Debt Collector Harassment Laws

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Debt Collector Harassment Laws

When a debt collector harasses, oppresses, or abuses a debtor, it is called harassment. Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing debtors by debt collector harassment laws, which are enforced by government agencies. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

What Is the FDCPA?

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using deceptive, abusive or unfair practices when collecting money from an individual. The Act only protects individuals, and not businesses. According to the Act, a debt collector cannot:

  • Contact a person at any inconvenient time or place, such as early in the morning or late at night
  • Contact a person at work unless they have been informed that they can do so
  • Use violence or threats
  • Publish names of people who owe money
  • Repeatedly annoy the individual
  • Use profane language
  • Pretend to be a government official or lawyer
  • Arrest the individual
  • Participate in unfair practices

What Can I Do If a Debt Collector Harasses Me?

A person harassed by a debt collector has three options to resolve a harassment issue:

  • Submit a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
  • Contact the attorney general for the state where the person resides
  • File a lawsuit under the Act against the debt collector in civil court

What Happens If I File a Lawsuit?

The case will proceed like any other civil trial. If the plaintiff wins, the debt collection may have to pay:

  • Attorney’s fees for the plaintiff
  • Money damages

What Is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is another federal debt collection law. It outlines how debt collections must be reported to the three credit bureaus. For instance, assume that a debt collector sends financial information about a debtor’s bill to the credit bureaus. Instead of reporting the debtor is three months behind, the debt collector reports that the debtor is seven months in arrearage. This false information violates the FCRA.

Should I Talk to an Attorney about Debt Collector Harassment Laws?

Debt collection agencies do violate both the FDCPA and the FCRA regularly. Thus, you may be a victim of deceptive or abusive practices that debt collectors engage in. It is highly recommended that you contact a personal injury attorney about ways to resolve the issue.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-23-2018 12:53 AM PDT

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