Debt Collection Harassment Attorneys
The stress of financial stability can really get to you, and being badgered about an overdue bill can make things worse. Albeit stressful, debt collectors are a normal part of recovering unpaid funds. But no matter how far behind you are on bills and repayments; debt collectors are limited under federal law to engage in certain practices. If you are unsure whether or not they are operating within these practices, you can always consult a debt collection harassment attorney.
You don’t need to feel alone. The average American has upwards of $90,000 in debt, including mortgages, student loans, and consumer debt. The commonality of having debt and paying it off, especially when viciously harassed, is more common than you think.
Debt collection harassment is a tactical way for collection agencies to secure overdue payments–but it is not legal. Collection agencies may neglect these laws in place to get their point across. Although cases may vary, victims of bill collector harassment are noted to have similar complaints. The process doesn’t just become a massive headache but may also take some time to handle.
Let’s understand the basics of debt collection, your rights, and the solution.
Understanding Debt Collection Basics & Your Rights
Debt collection occurs when an individual or agency seeks to collect payment for overdue bills and loans. These collection agencies are within their legal rights to seek payment that is owed to them–however, and they are not allowed to engage in harassment or threatening techniques to require their funds.
To gauge if what you are experiencing is indeed harassment, it’s essential to take note of a few things:
- If a debt collection agency is separate from the original creditor.
- Received threats
- Made to be intimidated
- Facing verbal abuses
Collection agencies vary from landlords, banks, and other business-related expenses. Debt collectors can contact you via phone, text, email, mail, or social media. We will go into more detail about the unethical practices used. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, these communication attempts are illegal.
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act?
Approved under the consumer protection act, the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that prohibits abusive methods for agencies when collecting a debt. It was approved in 1977 to combat many complaints from debt collectors. FDCPA only applies to the collection agency, not the original crediting company. The FDCPA is set in place to eliminate unfair, deceptive debt collection practices.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FDCPA as they receive statements from debtors. The FDCPA oversees the collections of:
- Medical debts or expenses
- Credit card debt
- Mortgage or property
Victims of FDCPA violations are entitled to take action of their own against debt collectors. You have the right to sue a specific collector or debt collector agency within a year of the harassment. FDCPA regulations do not apply to the original creator of the debt (or loan). It is specific to the harassment and abuses that occur from debt collectors.
Thanks to recent laws, major credit reporting companies such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion will no longer include medical debt on credit reports. This inclusion would usually affect your credit and standing with your bank.
What Is Considered A Form of Harassment By Collectors?
There are a multitude of ways debt collectors can approach consumers in modern times. Here is a list of ten common harassment tactics that violate FDCPA laws:
Any threats of violence, forms of coercion, or intent to inflict harm on debtors. Due to the seriousness of this violation, it is strongly recommended that you provide reliable evidence of this harassment while seeking legal action.
Collectors Use Profane and Obscene Language
If your debt collector uses any profanity used while pursuing contact with the debtor–including written, verbal, or any form when contacting debtors.
False Representations and Statements
Common complaints from consumers include higher requests for payment from collectors. Debt collectors may also represent themselves as a different agency or law firm to receive information or further intimidate them.
Threats to Take Legal Action Against the Debtor
A debt collector may threaten a consumer with legal action. For example, they may claim that nonpayment will result in imprisonment or suing them.
Overuse of calls, texts, or messages are examples of inappropriate contact. The accumulation of social media includes repeat following and direct messaging.
They Fail to Disclose a Notice of the Debt
This failure usually occurs when the agency fails to present the consumer with a written amount of debt and an official letter of notice.
They Are Falsifying Identity
Debt collectors may conceal their identity in exchange for pretending to be an officer of law enforcement, attorney, or other company. They are calling without disclosing their identity. Collectors must inform you which agency they are with when calling and who they are.
They Were Threatening to Seize Ownership of Property
In tandem with falsifying identity, collectors may threaten to take property or other items of request if there is a failure to make payments.
They Are Sharing Your Information
Releasing information of the consumer without their written consent, although they may be allowed to share this information without a confirmation:
- The creditor and their attorney
- Credit reporting agency
- Consumer’s spouse
- Consumer’s attorney
If any of the above situations apply to your case, it’s best to compile evidence of these violations. You can also write a letter to the collection agency informing them that you are being harassed.
If you choose to create a case against a collector or agency, a portfolio of evidence is in your best interest. This will help your attorney understand your situation so they can take an informed stance when defending you. To build your case, you should keep in mind that:
- As debt collectors obtain personal information on you, you should do the same
- Take screenshots and pictures, and create logs of the forms that prove when the harassment occurred and when
- It is vital to save all written forms
- Debt collectors are not allowed to call before eight a.m.and 9 p.m. as it violates FDCPA; make sure to save the record of these timestamps
Having evidence against a debt collector will be very helpful to your attorney but is not required to have it immediately.
How to Stop Debt Collection Harassment
Debt collection agencies are known to pester individuals to constantly incite a feeling of pressure. The constant dread that consumers experience can be detrimental–especially when taken to extremes. But taking note of these extreme communication tactics helps solidify your case. You may choose to file a complaint or even sue the debt collector. Here are a few ways to stop a debt collector:
Request a Validation Notice
A common misconception that people take is avoiding their debt collectors, hoping the harassment will stop if calls are ignored. This tactic will not only not work but may cause them to become more aggressive. After getting notice from the collection agency about the debt, request a validation notice. This notice must be sent within five days, detailing how much you owe, the original creditor, and more information on the debt.
Inform Them You Are At Work
You should not be harassed with calls while at work, but a debt collector may try to reach you at your job. If you tell them not to call you there, or if they are aware that you cannot receive calls at work, they cannot keep contacting you there.
Give Them Your Attorney’s Name
If you are represented by an attorney, debt collectors (and if they are aware of that) must seize contact with you and only reach out to the attorney. Contacting the debt collector and giving them your debt collection harassment attorney’s name and information will help them to stop getting you and, instead, your attorney. If you feel overwhelmed and unprepared to deal with your debt collector, your attorney can help.
With your validation notice from the agency, you can send them a Cease-and-Desist letter that your debt collection harassment attorney can write. The Cease-and-Desist letter entails that the debt collector must choose a different method to seek funds instead of directly contacting you.
If you choose to ignore debt collectors continuously, they can take action to sue you. We encourage you to get in contact with your attorney as soon as possible. Bill collector harassment is serious and stressful, and an expert debt collector lawyer can help.
Taking Legal Action Against Debt Collector Harassment
Representation in these cases is of the utmost importance. If you wish to have limited or no contact with collection agencies, getting attorneys for debt collection harassment is your best option. Your next steps would be to file a complaint to the FTC after reviewing your rights with FDCPA. You can also contact your representative or state attorney for more information. At this point, we strongly recommend you prepare proper documentation to answer questions about your situation. This will not only help you stay organized, but your debt collector lawyer too.
To find the proper debt collection harassment attorney, you should educate yourself about your rights. Advocacy agencies such as Legal Rights Advocates provide third-party legal assistance against these abuses. Not only do we offer a free consultation, but we are here to help in all stages of your situation.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that became effective in 1970 to promote fairness and privacy regarding credit reports. The FCRA regulates information in your credit file so that credit bureaus do not share data they have collected from a tax report, for example.
Our Services and Solutions
There has been an extensive list of consumer complaints about unethical debt collecting tactics–not all cases have successes. That’s why it’s crucial to have the proper evidence and representatives to support the claims.
The Legal Rights Advocates is a culmination of legal experts, lawyers, and specialists in several practices. Our team also has specialists in student loan consolidation, landlord and tenant law, and other FDCPA-based areas. If you are seeking further assistance, our services include:
- Free case reviews
- Free legal consultations
- Experts on the FDCPA and FTC laws to help answer questions
- Our website includes a blog that helps to answer your common questions in depth
Our list of areas of practice:
- FDCPA Attorney
- TCPA Lawyer
- Debt Collection Harassment
- Family Lawyers
- Personal Injury Lawyers
- SSDI Attorney
- Criminal Lawyer
- Landlord & Tenant Lawyer
- Student Loan Consolidation
Feel free to browse the rest of our website for more information about our services.
Finding solutions to your harassment may feel impossible, but there are helpful ways to recover from debt. Debt collectors agencies can not only drastically impact your credit report, but may deter your financial plans. In taking action against a violation of your rights, here are some tips for recovering from debt, loans, and credit:
Depending on which state you live in, you may be subject to different laws. In the same case, some states may apply additional sanctions, including the original creditor.
Seek professional experience if your rights have been violated. Professionals are willing to advocate for you and most consultations are free of charge.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Legal assistance such as a law office is available; debt collection harassment attorneys are here to help you with your inquiries. If you have questions about your specific case, reach out to our team today.
Seek Out the Original Creditor
To get in good standing with your credit company and the original creditor, it’s essential to handle your initial debt and loans. Look into repayment plans that can break up your payments into installments. There are also some income-based options for repayments, such as student loans. You can also enroll in credit or financial counseling.
Communication is Key
Be sure to communicate effectively with your attorney on your next steps. If you try to ignore your debt, your situation will only get worse. A debt collection harassment attorney can give you the emotional and legal support you need to keep on top of your payments without being harassed.
The best solution when dealing with debt collector sharks is to stay informed of your rights. Many practices they use are illegal, and you may be compensated up to $1,000 if you win your case. If you are still having trouble with debt collectors, contact us directly to find attorneys for debt collection harassment.