Debt collector harassment is a form of creditor harassment that involves repeated contact from debt collectors in an attempt to collect payments on overdue debts. It can include phone calls, emails, letters and even in-person contact. Debt collector harassment often violates federal and state laws that protect consumers from abusive collection practices.
There are several key things to know about debt collector harassment:
1. What Counts as Harassment?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices while attempting to collect a debt, including harassing or oppressive behavior such as repeatedly calling you at inconvenient times; using profane language; making false statements; threatening legal action they cannot pursue; and discussing your debt with anyone other than you or your attorney.
2. How to Report Harassment?
If you believe a debt collector is harassing you, make sure to keep records of all contact with them, including notes about the date and time of each call, as well as what was said. You should also report any harassment to your state Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
3. What Can Be Done About Harassment?
In most cases, once you have reported the problem to the authorities, they will take steps to stop the collection harassment by either warning or fining the debt collector who is responsible for it. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been subjected to severe debt collector harassment.
4. How to Handle Debt Collectors?
It’s important to remember that debt collectors are trying to collect a debt, and they have the right to do so under the law. However, you also have rights when it comes to dealing with them. Make sure to remain firm but polite while communicating with debt collectors, and don’t give out any personal information or agree to make payments without knowing all of your options first.
5. What Are Your Rights Regarding Collection?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines several consumer protections regarding collection activity, such as prohibiting a collector from threatening arrest or imprisonment; demanding more than what is owed; calling multiple times per day; and not providing written verification of the debt upon request.
6. How Long Can Debt Collectors Pursue?
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors have up to five years from the date of default or last payment to pursue collections on a delinquent account. In some states, this timeframe may be extended by agreements with creditors or courts.
7. What About the Statute of Limitations?
In addition to the time-frame outlined above for debt collection activity, most states also have statute of limitations on debts that dictate how long a creditor has to sue you in order to collect a debt. Beyond the expiration of this statute, creditors are no longer able to take legal action against you.
8. Can You Negotiate with Creditors?
If you are unable to make payments on an overdue debt, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan or settlement with the original creditor. This can help to find ways to achieve financial freedom and help reduce both the amount of money owed and the interest rate associated with it.
9. How to Avoid Debt Collectors?
To avoid having to deal with debt collectors in the first place, make sure to pay your bills on time and stay current on all accounts. Additionally, if there’s a dispute over an account balance or other issue, contact the creditor directly rather than ignoring them as this could lead to collection activity.
10. What Happens After Payment?
Once you’ve made full payment of a delinquent debt, it is important to get written confirmation that your obligation has been satisfied. This can help to prevent future collection activity and ensure that the account is closed in good standing.
By understanding your rights and taking proactive steps, you can protect yourself from debt collector harassment and move forward with a more positive financial future. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, it’s important to take action as soon as possible in order to stop the harassment and avoid any further complications.