The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is legislation designed to protect consumers from aggressive tactics used by debt collectors. The law outlines many rights of debtors, as well as practices that are banned. Still, some collection agencies continue to engage in these tactics, knowing that many consumers do not fully understand their rights or do not know where to turn if those rights are violated.
Debt collectors are forbidden, under the FDCPA, from engaging in the following behaviors:
- Calling you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Seeking information about your debt from friends and family
- Calling you at work during business hours if your workplace does not allow personal phone calls
- Lying about your debt situation
- Using derogatory language
- Lying about their escalation plans (i.e. falsely claiming they will take the debt matter to court)
If you have experienced any of these behaviors during discussions with debt collectors or debt collection agencies, your rights likely were violated. The best way to be sure about whether you have a case for compensation is to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney.
At Sue the Collector, we offer all potential clients a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case. By speaking with you, we can learn more about how we can help you get an attorney and pursue justice against these unfair debt collection practices. If you believe your FDCPA rights have been violated in any way, schedule a consultation with our team by calling us at (866) 768-6005. You can also fill out the form on our contact page and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
How to Tell Whether You Are Being Harassed
“Harassment” is a somewhat subjective term that can mean different things to different people. However, it has strict legal definitions in certain circumstances. Not all behaviors that you might consider invasive or unrelenting from a debt collector will be considered harassment, but it is important to know when they have stepped over that legal line.
Defamatory and Offensive Language
Debt collectors are not allowed to use swear words, derogatory terminology, or otherwise offensive utterances when speaking to you. Words that are meant to verbally abuse you are forbidden.
Threats of Violence
Any threat of physical violence, damage to your public reputation, or harm to property you own is illegal. Similarly, the debt collector cannot threaten to publish information about you and your debt (except in the case of sending this information to a consumer reporting agency).
If a debt collector continually calls your phone in an effort to annoy you with persistent ringing, this may be considered harassment. This, however, is often difficult to prove, as it relies on the intent of the caller. For example, if you receive repeated calls with no meaningful discourse beyond “give me the money you owe,” the intent likely is to pressure, abuse, or annoy you.
However, calling you once per day within appropriate daylight hours, informing you that they are going to send information about your debt to credit reporting agencies, or escalating the debt collection to a full lawsuit are all acceptable practices. These are not considered harassment behaviors.
When the FDCPA Applies
The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act only covers certain types of debt: personal and household debt. If you owe money for a business loan, for example, that form of debt likely is not covered under the FDCPA protections. Additionally, the FDCPA is not applied to cases in which the collector is the original creditor to whom you owe the debt. Instead, the law specifically applies to the companies that purchase your debt from the original creditor. So, if the individual calling you is from the original institution from which you took out a loan, the FDCPA will not apply.
Why Suing the Collector Makes Sense
Debt collectors and collection agencies are notorious for using abusive tactics to pressure people into paying their debt, but debtors have rights. When those collectors step on your rights, they deserve to be pursued for compensation. In some cases, Sue the Collector has been able to get clients significant compensation, including:
- $1,000 for unfair or abusive practices
- $1,500 for each illegally-made robocall
The best way to stop these unfair practices is to hold collectors accountable, and that is the mission of Sue the Collector.
Get Your FREE Consultation Today
At Sue the Collector, we provide clients with a FREE consultation to discuss the merits of each case that comes our way. If you have received robocalls, calls at your workplace, or felt verbally harassed or threatened by collectors, your FDCPA rights may have been violated. Fill out the form on our contact page to let us know more about your situation. A member of our team will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. If you prefer to speak with a representative to schedule your consultation, call us today at (866) 768-6005.
Debt collectors want to hold your feet to the proverbial fire over debts. At Sue the Collector, we can help you fight back.