At some point in your life, you are going to accumulate a debt for one reason or another, and it is important that you pay it, but it is also important that debt collectors do not cross the line when they are talking to you. What does this mean exactly? Well, there are a few ways you can tell whether or not they crossing the line, and it should be fairly obvious, but we will list a few instances here:
- Late Calling: In most states debt collectors are not allowed to call after 9 PM, and if they are doing so, then they are most definitely in violation.
- False Threats: A debt collector may resort to making false threats if they believe it will get them what they want. One example might be threatening to sue you or garnish your ages if you fail to pay. If they repeatedly make these threats but do not follow through, there is a good chance that they are in violation of the FDCPA.
- Releasing your Information to Third Parties: This is an obvious violation as a company may sell your debt, but discussing confidential details with a third party is certainly not allowed and is grounds for a lawsuit.
- Calling Multiple Times Per day: If you find that you cannot use your phone due to the debt collectors calling constantly, you definitely have grounds for a suit.
These are four very important points but they are by no means the only thing that you should consider when you are looking for a reason to take action. First of all, let’s take a look at the FDCPA.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA is in place to prohibit debt collectors from engaging in what could be considered abusive behavior. This is specifically designed to stop them from calling you repeatedly, keep them from withholding the fact that they are debt collectors, stop them from calling you at work, and even stops them from making threats or using profane language. There are many other items, and they can be found on the FDCPA website.
When Debt Collectors Cross the Line
Debt collectors are not just an anonymous person on the other end of the phone. They are human beings and they are most certainly responsible for their actions. You have a few paths of recourse that you can take:
- Use Reason: You have the right to demand the agency stop contacting you. You can send a letter telling them to case communication with you unless they are informing you of a lawsuit or the cessation of collection efforts. Remember, you don’t want to hide from a debt collector – it won’t just go away.
- Write it Down: Having a good record of the abuse is paramount if you are to win your case in court. In fact, you can even record the call so long as you inform the debt collector. Just remember that in some states it is perfectly legal to record it without their knowledge, so check your local and state regulations first.
- Make a Complaint: The Federal Trade Commission is always interested in taking the complaints of those harassed by debt collectors. You can always file a complaint with them and send that complaint to multiple locations. State agencies, along with the creditor and collection agency should be given a copy of the FTC complaint. The results will not be immediate, but it will help.
- File a Lawsuit: Many would consider this a last resort, but if you have found that you are a constant recipient of abusive behavior, and if you can prove it, you may want to file a lawsuit. Just remember that there is a significant difference between annoying behavior and abusive behavior.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you have fallen behind on your bills, and you think a debt collector is breaking the law, contact an attorney at Van Horn Law Group for legal guidance.