Fighting creditor harassment with legalities is not a 100% guarantee of winning, or even preventing credit harassment. But when legally done, at least there is a better chance of not being hassled anymore, reducing stress and financial exhaustion on the consumer’s part.
Federal and state laws are available to protect consumers from creditor harassment. A major body of laws is the FDCPA, or Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is a body of laws that the government bodies have developed in order to protect consumers from any and all abusive forms of creditor harassment practices.
The FDCPA was developed in order to protect all consumers from creditor harassment, and given the opportunity to handle their debts decently and in a civil manner. The creditor is not allowed to use threatening collection letters, continuous telephone calls, or contacting the consumer at work. If it can be proved that a creditor harassment has occurred, the FDCPA will allow the consumer to sue the debt collector for up to $1,000.00 statutory damages, plus damages of mental anguish, telephone charges, etc. in addition to attorney fees.
The FDCPA applies the consumers with protection under certain circumstances:
• It must be a consumer debt, not a business debt.
• The debt collector is not the original creditor
• FDCPA only applies to third party collection agencies
• FDCPA applies under narrow circumstances when the collector is the original creditor.
• There are very specific circumstances where FDCPA protections will not apply.
• State and Federal laws afford different protections for the consumer, with only a consumer attorney being able to determine which one is the best for the most protection.
Creditor harassment has been on the rise for the past three years, with the Federal Trade Commission receiving more complaints against debt collectors than any other industries. Many complaints include vulgar language, collecting more many than is owed, sharing improperly the debt information, attempting to collect extra fees, and threatening members of the family.
With the majority of people not recognizing their rights in regard to debt collection, most debt collectors take advantage of it. But not all of them do, with many ethical debt collectors saving the average person a fair amount of money—a savings that would have incurred with businesses raising their prices to cover the bad debts of the country.
The bottom line is this, if a debt collector is unwanted tell them so with a letter. Keep the letter and records you have informed them of such, in case they are to be charged with illegal creditor harassment. Write a second letter if required, and keep records of that one also. If it contuse then hire a lawyer. Consumers do have rights against debt collectors, but many do not know this and suffer the consequences.
The bottom line is this—if a debt collector is unwanted and it is felt they are harassing, then tell them so with a proper letter. Keep the letter and records that have been made of contact with them, in case they are to be charged with illegal creditor harassment. Write a second letter if required, and keep records of that one also. If it continues then hire a lawyer. Consumers do have rights against debt collectors, but many do not know this and suffer the consequences.