When a debt collector harasses, oppresses, or abuses a debtor, it is called harassment. Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing debtors by debt collection laws, which are enforced by government agencies. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (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:
Debt collectors also may not use deceptive practices, including:
If being harassed by a debt collector, a person should keep records of the phone calls, to include content of the calls, as well as dates and times calls were made. Emails, texts and regular mail from the debt collector should also be kept as records.
A person subject to harassment should ask the debt collector to stop the harassing calls, and should send a letter in writing to the collection company asking that the harassment stop.
A person harassed by a debt collector has three options to resolve a harassment issue:
Telemarketing scams have been trying to separate us from our money/possession for years. Often, rumors of a new scam will circulate, like the IRS threatening with an arrest warrant if the person does not pay owed back-taxes.
So how do you know it’s a telemarketing scam or a debt collector? A telemarketing scam typically have a robotic call, but they can also have a live person speaking to you. If they do not tell you or refuse to tell you:
If they are unable to tell you any information about why the amount of money is owed, then they are not a debt collector. Be sure to document the name of the person or the company that is harassing you, if you are not sure if they are a debt collector or a scammer.
The plaintiff, or victim of harassment, will need to prove that the debt collector has violated some aspect of the FDCPA. The case will proceed like any other civil trial. If the plaintiff wins, the debt collection may have to pay:
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.
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 local collection defense lawyer about ways to resolve the issue.
Last Modified: 07-13-2018 02:26 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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