Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a creditor a person owes money to can call the person for the purposes of collecting the debt. However, it is not legally allowed for a creditor to call a debtor at unreasonable hours during the day or incessantly after an explicit request to stop. Creditor harassment is a common problem many that are in debt face. Being in debt is difficult enough; creditor harassment will only worsen the situation.
Creditor harassment can escalate beyond never-ending collection calls. Some creditors do resort to verbal and sometimes physical threats. Creditor harassment can lead to job loss, emotional stress, marital instabilities, and even invasions of privacy for the debtor. Fortunately, there are several legal remedies to stop creditor harassment. If you are a victim of creditor harassment, read ahead to find out what you can do to stop the situation:
Clearly Inform the Creditor to Stop Calling
Legally, under FDCA as mentioned above, creditors must stop collection calls if you ask them to stop. It’s recommended to explicitly tell the creditor to stop all collection calls. If the creditor or collectors do not, you can take the case to the authorities.
Try to Negotiate with the Creditor
The best-case scenario for both, you and the creditor, is to renegotiate a debt that you can no longer repay in full. After asking the creditor to stop collection calls, take steps to settle the debt. The creditor might be willing to give you more leeway to repay the debt or reduce the interest rate. You can contact a lawyer or a financial advisor regarding fully paying back what you owe. Settling the debt will eliminate credit harassment issues. Do this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the situation gets.
Complain to the Federal Trade Commission
If the creditor does not stop collection calls upon request, or if the collection methods verge on illegal (such as physical abuse), you can file a complaint with the FTC. It is best to understand what is allowed and not allowed as fair debt collection under the FDCA. Verbal harassment, threading arrest, naming you in “bad debt” lists, calling a place of employment where such calls are prohibited, and trying to communicate with parties associated with you other than your spouse or attorney, are all disallowed under the Act. If your creditors try any of these, you can file a complaint with the FTC. Evidence will be necessary to prove your claim. Therefore, it’s advised to have another person witness the harassing incidents.
File for Bankruptcy
Under certain circumstances, filing for bankruptcy may be the best case scenario to ease your debt worries. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, it becomes illegal for the creditor to attempt to collect the money owed in any way. It would be illegal for a creditor to attempt to collect debt once bankruptcy proceedings are underway. So hire a good attorney in your area, like a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale to stop debt collection efforts once and for all.
It is also possible to sue a creditor who has engaged in seriously harmful debt collection methods. Your attorney will be able to advise you further if such is the case.