If you are receiving non-stop phone calls from debt collectors, you have the right to stop the collection calls. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for debt collectors to engage in certain harassing and abusive behavior in an effort to collect a debt. That includes making harassing phone calls. Consumers should know that they have the right to fair treatment and to end debt collector harassment.
This may start with being up front with your creditors. If you have heard from a creditor, clarify that you are unable to pay the bill and let them know when you hope to be able to repay the debt. By doing this, you may be able to work out a repayment plan with the creditor to avoid your debt being sent to collection.
You Can Request No More Contact
In the event you are not able to work out an agreement directly with the creditor, and a collection agency ends up handling your past-due bill, simply compose a letter asking that the collection agency stop contacting you. This requires the collection agencies stop contacting you. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you will be able to document when the collector received it. Save a copy for your own records too.
A collection agency may then only contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that the creditor intends to take a specific action, such as filing a lawsuit. Keep in mind though that stopping collection calls or other harassment does not solve the problem. You still maintain the debt and may be subject to lawsuits and other legal or financial consequences if you fail to repay it.
Can I sue the debt collector for harassment?
If the collection agency fails to stop communication or engages in illegal practices, you may file a lawsuit against them for damages. Some examples of illegal collection practices that could constitute creditor harassment include:
- contacting others about your debt (employer, etc.);
- contacting you at unreasonable hours, such as at night;
- calling you so frequently as to annoy or harass you;
- threatening you with violence;
- using obscene, profane language; and
- falsely representing oneself as an attorney;
You may also hire a lawyer to help you end debt collector harassment. In this case, your attorney can be the creditor or debt collector’s sole contact regarding your debt. An attorney can also help you explore options to file bankruptcy which may help you discharge your debts depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. Certain debts are not eligible for discharge, though, so speak with your attorney about all of your legal options regarding your debt.
To learn more about your options regarding bankruptcy, speak with a bankruptcy attorney at Warren & Migliaccio. Call us at 888-584-9614 or use our online contact form to set up a consultation.