Collection calls from an agency can quickly turn into harassing ones, even as an individual is navigating the tricky territory of debt and wondering how to stop it from turning into a bigger problem.
What constitutes harassment?
Debt harassment can take many forms. Some of these which constitute harassment and are deemed as violations include the following:
- Phone calls that include abuse
- Communication that includes obscene language and threats of violence
- Making a phone call but not identifying themselves
- Informing somebody else of the debt you owe or are liable to pay. Making public the name of people liable to pay debts
What is the solution?
If you or anybody you know, is facing harassment from collection agency agents in the form of unsolicited phone calls, you should know that you have the right to stop it. You have the right to legal recourse under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991.
The TCPA lays emphasis on the consumers’ consent to be called. Unless express consent to call is provided by the consumer, they cannot be contacted.
The TCPA has laid down rules for collection entities. Some of these include:
- There is a specific time range provided in which calls can be made for the purpose of debt collection
- The TCPA limits the use of automated equipment for the purpose of communication, including prohibiting calls made using automated dialers as well as SMS text messages
- Collection entities have to maintain a list of numbers of consumers who are part of a Do-Not-Call registry; the request has to be honored as well
- When calling, the callers have to provide their name, a number or address at which they can be contacted, and the entity on whose behalf the call is being made
The TCPA also prohibits calls being made to emergency lines, hospitals and healthcare or elder care facilities or any facility where the recipient may be charged for the call.
As a consumer, you should keep track of all the communication, including harassing calls from collection agencies . The TCPA has provisions which allow the consumer to sue for violations.
So, how does an individual stop this harassment from phone calls?
Say for example, a good friend of yours who is also a new mother, is receiving phone calls that are not only annoying, but also threatening. These calls come around 9 pm, when she has returned home from a tiring day at work. While the debt liability is real, their household is already struggling to make repayments. In such a scenario, when a debt collection agency calls with threats of further harassment, an individual who is already juggling several responsibilities and stretched by financial hardship may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with even basic life demands. This can lead to immeasurable stress.
Thankfully, your friend is entitled to legal help to cope with the situation.
Remember, collection agencies are pursuing your debt for the actual creditor. Typically, an agency will get a particular percentage of the debt owed. As a result, there is a chance that they overstep their bounds when communicating with the consumer.
Reach out for legal help. Search for lawyers or attorneys who specialize in debt harassment laws and who can help you figure out the right course of action. The TCPA has provisions for monetary compensation in the case of violations. One of the first things to do is to keep a record, as much as possible, of all the communication made by the debt collector. Your attorney can then guide you better on how to go about stopping the harassing calls. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the faster it is to stop any kind of harassing calls from a collection agency.
Legal Rights Advocates, PLLC is a law firm that specializes in helping clients who are facing harassment from debt collectors in any form, including telephone communication. Our team of attorneys, over the years, has helped countless clients get protections from debt collection practices that are deemed as unlawful and illegal under the FDCPA and TCPA laws.
If you are interested in learning more about how to safeguard yourself better from TCPA liabilities, call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance.