The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to ensure appropriate behavior from debt collectors in their attempts to collect debts. The federal act lists several actions debt collectors may not take when trying to collect money owed, and the FDCPA defines specific types of behaviors that are considered harassment and illegal under the act’s provisions.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveals that…
“… Harassment by a debt collector can come in different forms, but examples include repetitious phone calls intended to annoy or abuse, obscene language, and threats of violence.”
Phone calls filled with threats and abusive behaviors over the phone are common tactics used by some debt collectors to convince people to pay bills they may or may not owe. However, there are many other types of harassment, too. Here are just a few:
- Anonymous Callers – A debt collector may not identify himself on the phone while attempting to collect a debt. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector must identify himself as a debt collector and make sure the person called understands the communication is an attempt to collect a debt.
- Publishing Names – An unscrupulous debt collector may try to use public opinion to convince people to pay their debts by publishing a list of people the debt collector believes owes the company money. (Note: A legitimate debt collector can still report the debt to a credit reporting company)
- Abusive Behavior – A debt collector cannot threaten a debtor with violence or use profane language in the course of attempting to collect a debt. Threatening to call the police on a debtor or threatening to get a debtor arrested aren’t legitimate tactics for collecting a debt.
- Phone Call Bombardment – Debt collectors cannot make repeated phone calls in an attempt to harass or abuse a debtor. Phone calls are allowed in certain circumstances, but there are limitations to the frequency of contact.
What Can I Do If I’m Being Harassed By a Debt Collector?
There are several steps you can take to reduce threatening behavior by debt collectors. While letters and the occasional phone call may annoy you, there’s no reason to allow a debt collector to engage in illegal behaviors whether or not you legitimately owe the debt.
Your options include:
Contacting a Lawyer – If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue them, and an attorney who specializes in debt collection law can assist.
Contacting the State Attorney General – Each state’s attorney general has the authority to prosecute debt collectors who violate the law.
Filing a Report with the CFPB – The Consumer Financial Protection Board will accept complaints through its online form, as well as through its phone number at 1-855-411-2372.
Is a Debt Collector Harassing You?
Are you under siege from an unscrupulous debt collector? Want to know how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) can help you? Contact Suburban Legal Group to determine if you have a legal case for suing a debt collector. We offer a free legal consultation.
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. Suburban Legal Group PC shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.