Debt Collection & Creditor Harassment
Debt collectors will act aggressively to collect, and often will use deceptive and harassing tactics. To protect consumers from such tactics, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted. The FDCPA applies to third-party creditors only. If a debt collector is contacting you and engaging in behavior that violates the FDCPA, you may have a legal claim against that debt collector. Our firm is experienced in FDCPA litigation and will make sure you get the best representation if a debt collector is harassing you.
WHAT ACTIONS VIOLATE THE FDCPA?
While there are many collection tactics that violate the FDCPA, Some common unfair and deceptive practices include:
- Threats: Debt Collectors will sometimes threaten criminal action or claim that they have already initiated a criminal action against you. For example, a debt collector will claim that if you do not pay them immediately, they will file fraud charges or send a sheriff to your home to arrest you. Sometimes, they claim they have a case number. While it is possible a collector could file a civil action, there is no "debtor’s prison." These threats of criminal action are an abusive tactic used to convince you to pay. Additionally, if a debt collector threatens to take legal action that they have no intention of taking or cannot legally take, this is also considered a deceptive collection practice.
- Disclosure to a Third Party: If a collector contacts any individual other than your spouse and discloses any information about your debt.
- Certain Phone Calls: If a collector calls before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM. Additionally, if you receive calls at locations known by the collector to be inconvenient such as your place of employment.
- Calls Continuing Once Requested to Stop: If you have sent a collector a written request for them to cease and desist all contact from the collector, and they continue to contact you.
- Contacting a debtor that the creditor knows is represented by an attorney.
- Using language that is offensive, profane or derogatory.
- Failing to disclose the identity of the debt collector or details of the debt.
- Failing to provide validation of a debt once validation is requested in writing.
WHAT ACTIONS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
If a debt collector is contacting you and engaging in any of the above practices, you should contact our office immediately. We can guide you through your rights and the legal process of pursuing your possible claim. Additionally, taking the following steps can help you preserve your rights and claims:
- Save all correspondence and take notes on any telephone communications you receive from the debt collector.
- Request as much information from the debt collector as possible, including the identity of the collector and the individual you are speaking with, the address of the debt collector, the source of the debt, amount of the debt and the legal status of the debt.
- Pull your credit reports to determine if the debt is being reported. You can access your credit reports for free once every 12 months.
- Dispute the debt within 30 days of the contact from the debt collector. The dispute must be sent to the collector in writing. Your dispute letter should be dated, obtain as much account information as possible and should indicate that you are disputing the debt and request that the collector provide verification of the debt within the time allowed pursuant to the FDCPA.
Remember, if a collector is using abusive and harassing tactic to try to collect on a debt, you have rights to combat these practices. These claims are complex and could result in potential monetary recovery. Our Office is prepared to fight for you and protect you against further creditor harassment.