Home Law How to deal with harassing collection calls, things you need to know

How to deal with harassing collection calls, things you need to know

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Debt collectors’ phone calls can be a source of anxiety and stress. Collectors, on the other hand, frequently break the law in their efforts to recover money from consumers. You won’t be intimidated by illegal techniques if you’re aware of your rights and can spot when a collector is abusing them. In some cases, you may be able to use the debt collector’s infractions of the law to your advantage.

When a debt collector calls, it’s crucial to know what to do and say so that you don’t make a mistake that could place you in legal or financial danger. Collectors’ harassing phone calls might do more than raise your stress level. Collector harassment can result in personal bankruptcies as well as marital insecurities and the loss of employment.

Your Legal Right for Debt Collection

An increasing number of complaints regarding debt collection companies’ tactics led to the original passage of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977 and its subsequent amendment in 1996. Please be aware that the FDCPA only covers debt collection firms and does not cover the original creditor.

According to the FDCPA, a debt collector is prohibited from engaging in activity that has the natural consequence of harassing, oppressing, or abusing any person as part of the collection process.

This includes violation or other illegal means used to harm a person’s reputation or property; indecent or profane language used to harm a person’s reputation or property; if the debt collector falsely claims to represent a state or federal entity; providing inaccurate information about a debt’s amount or legal status; negative connotation attached to nonpayment of the money; and repeatedly ringing a phone to annoy, abuse, or harass another person.

Measures used to stop harassment from debt collectors

If a debt collector harasses you, don’t allow humiliation about your debt to keep you from taking action. Even if you really owe money, collection agencies are not permitted to call you many times a day and harass you in any way.

1.     Confirm the debt belongs to you.

Be sure the creditor or collection agency is contacting you about legitimate obligations. If your name is common, they may be contacting you about another account. They may even contact you about debts you’ve already paid. Credit card firms and banks may sell uncollectible loans to collection agencies. The data is bundled and sent to a third-party firm to reclaim the funds. It’s up to you to find out why you’re receiving these scary calls and letters. Ask the debt collector who owns the debt, whose creditor it belongs to, how much it is, and when the account defaulted. If it’s an old debt, the statute of limitations may be approaching. Each province specifies a time limit for a creditor to recover a debt. After this period, the creditor is legally prohibited from pursuing you for payment. Always allude to the supposed debt as such. Otherwise, your debt acceptance might reset the clock on the creditor’s time to collect. If the account isn’t yours or you’ve paid it off, notify the collection agency and the credit reporting bureaus so they can update your record. But it’s yours, you must pay them.

2.     Send a letter demanding a cessation of communications.

Firstly, write a letter requesting that all communication be stopped. Get their postal address and notify them in writing that you no longer wish to be contacted by collectors. Always have a copy of your letter on hand. Make sure you include a “return receipt” with the original so that you can prove what the collector got. There are two exceptions to this rule: a collector can contact you to let you know there will be no further contact; and a collector can contact you to inform you that they (or the creditor) will take a specific action, such as filing a lawsuit. Once the collector receives your letter, they are not allowed to contact you again. Remember that a letter won’t magically erase your debt. You’ll have to pay back the money you owe, announce bankruptcy and work out a repayment plan, or have your debts discharged, or better still, handle the situation around the money.

3.     Make a complaint.

File an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the debt collector keeps harassing you. Complaining to your state’s creditor harassment agency is a smart move. In addition to the collection agency and the original creditor, you will also need to provide duplicates. Collectors may promise to eliminate a debt if you drop a lawsuit in certain situations, out of fear of responsibility. As a result, you would escape the debt, the harassing phone calls would cease, and you would avoid possibly lengthy FTC investigations. It is necessary to provide the following information in any complaint filed against a Collector: the firm’s full name, address, and contact information; dates and times for all correspondence; the original creditor’s name; and copies of any additional materials like recorded conversations, claims of harassment, and any other documented information.

Worst-Case Scenario of Persistent Harassment

Another alternative is to take legal action against the collection agency. You should only utilize this option if you have a serious instance of collector harassment, not merely because the collector is unpleasant. Losing your case might result in you being forced to pay the collector’s legal expenses and fees. Keeping a journal of your complaints with collection agencies and the times they violated the FDCPA is a good idea if you want to sue for harassment. You may claim damages in state or federal court one year after the collector broke the law. For violating the legislation, you may get up to $1,000 plus attorney’s fees. Individuals who can prove genuine losses, such as the expense of changing a phone number, may also be reimbursed.

Conclusion

Sending your complaint to the original creditor or debt collection agency and asking them to negotiate a settlement is one option to avoid legal action. To avoid a court appearance, they may choose to cancel the debt. They may also propose to lower the amount they are willing to take in order to reach a settlement agreement. Do not accept an offer until it’s in writing and states precisely how much money you’ll get. As part of the settlement agreement, demand that the bill be removed from your credit report, therefore lowering your credit score. Even if you feel the debt is not yours, do not ignore collectors. The collector may file a lawsuit against you and get a judgment against you, which would cost you money and effort. Debt and bankruptcy law attorneys can help if you’re not clear on whether certain behaviors are prohibited or if you’re being harassed by creditors.