When dealing with debt, the stress of the situation alone is often an enormous burden. You do not want additional stressors heaped onto your pile of concerns. But this is exactly what debt collectors can do.
Are you in the middle of dealing with a harassing debt collector? How do you recognize the signs? Most importantly, is there anything you can do about it?
FDCPA banned behaviors
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines harassment by debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) bans any harassing, oppressive or abusive behaviors on the part of debt collectors. Examples of said behavior includes:
- Threatening you with violence or harm
- Use of profane or obscene language
- Repeatedly calling your home with the intent to annoy or abuse the recipients
- Not identifying themselves when calling
- Publishing lists of people who owe debts
Misrepresentation from debt collectors
They cannot engage in active misrepresentation, either. This means they cannot use false or deceptive practices like lying about the amount owed or pretending to be an attorney. They cannot give false threats about your arrest. They cannot threaten things they have no legal power to do. They also cannot make threats they have no intention of following up on.
Unfortunately, debt collectors do still indulge in these behaviors even when the FDCPA disallows them. But you can take action. First, if you file for bankruptcy, it halts all contact from debt collectors. Next, you can sue a debt collector for their harassment of you. If you win the case, the judge will likely order them to pay for your legal fees.