Dealing with debt is overwhelming enough, but aggressive creditors can make the experience much worse. Their tactics to collect debts can border on abusive; we’ve heard every debt collector horror story, from verbal abuse to intimidation to flat-out lying. No matter how much you owe, creditor harassment is unacceptable.
What Constitutes Creditor Harassment?
According to the FTC, which enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are prohibited from doing the following:
– Calling you before 8am or after 9pm
– Calling you at work, if they’re told you’re not allowed to receive calls
– Threatening you with physical harm
– Using profanity
– Annoying you by calling repeatedly
– Lying about how much you owe
– Lying about being a government official or attorney
– Falsely claim you will be arrested or subject to legal action
I’m Being Harassed. What Can I Do?
Contact the Creditor
When you’re deep in debt and unable to pay, it’s tempting to ignore the problem. But if your creditor never hears from you, they may sell the debt to a collection agency, and you’ll have fewer options. Instead, give them a call—explain that you’re unable to pay, and estimate when you will be able to pay. Try to negotiate a payment plan.
If you’re unable to reach a compromise, a debt collection agency will likely assume the debt. Cue the harassing phone calls—your phone may be ringing off the hook at this point. You still have the right to peace and quiet! The FDCPA has your back. All you have to do is mail a letter to the creditor requesting that they stop contacting you.
Keep in mind that although the law now prohibits the creditor from harassing you, they are still legally able to contact you in certain situations—to acknowledge receipt of your letter, for instance, or to inform you that they have filed a lawsuit against you.
Filing for bankruptcy stops collectors in their tracks. If you are in a severe financial situation, bankruptcy will not only put an end to creditor harassment, but also give you the chance for a fresh financial start. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is truly the most effective way to keep creditors from harassing you.
Consult with an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy attorney Michael Benson has extensive experience protecting St. Louis and southern Illinois citizens from creditor harassment. If you are unable to pay your bills and the creditors won’t stop calling, contact A Bankruptcy Law Firm, LLC to discuss your financial situations and your options.