Dealing with debt is stressful enough without the seemingly constant harassment from creditors attempting to collect payment. Their efforts could make you afraid to answer your phone, scared for your safety and embarrassed if creditors contact your employer, friends or family.
Not only are these behaviors disruptive and upsetting for an individual, but they can also be illegal. Thus, putting a stop to creditor harassment can be a top priority.
What constitutes harassment?
Backing up, we should look at what creditor harassment looks like because while you may not like hearing from them, not all collection efforts are harassing.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act details prohibited creditor behaviors. Some of the actions the FDCPA forbids explicitly include:
- Misrepresenting a debt, who they are or what they can do if a person does not pay
- Making threats
- Using obscene language
- Calling someone repeatedly with the intention of annoying or harassing them
- Contacting them at times known to be inconvenient
- Communicating with others about a debt without permission from the individual or courts
- Failing to provide accurate notification and information to the individual
- Attempting to collect a debt that a person does not owe
These are just some of the abusive, unfair and harassing actions that the FDCPA prohibits.
Unfortunately, not all debt collectors comply with these regulations. They cross lines and violate a consumer’s rights hoping they will not get caught or punished. However, you can stop creditor harassment.
Stopping the harassment
If you believe creditors are harassing you, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau will investigate your claim, contact the company and wait for a response. It could also forward the complaint to a different agency for handling.
You could also notify the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s attorney general.
Another option to stop the harassment is to work with an attorney and send a cease and desist letter to the company or file for bankruptcy protection. When you file a bankruptcy petition, your creditors receive notification and they must stop all attempts to communicate with you.
Creditor harassment is illegal and highly upsetting. Knowing what it looks like and how you can stop it empowers you to protect yourself and your rights.