Illegal Debt Collection Methods

By Marrero, Chamizo, Marcer Law, LP,

If you have ever fallen behind on your bills, you may have firsthand knowledge of just how aggressive a debt collector can be in their collection tactics. While they are within their rights to attempt to collect any money owed to them, creditors and debt collectors may not use illegal debt collection methods considered unlawful when doing so.

For example, when trying to collect payments from you, debt collectors cannot:

  • Contact you at work if you asked them not to do so: If a debt collector calls or otherwise contacts you at your place of business and you instruct them not to, either orally or in writing, he or she must immediately cease doing so. If you continue to hear from them at your place of employment, they are committing an illegal debt collection practice.
  • Harass you: Debt collectors also cannot contact you at all hours in an effort to annoy you or harass you to the point that you pay the debt. Generally, debt collectors cannot contact you at home before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and they also cannot engage in other harassing behaviors, such as threatening to harm you or your reputation.
  • Contact you via postcard: While debt collectors are typically within their rights if they attempt to reach you over the phone or via the mail, they cannot send information about your debt to you in postcard form. This may be an invasion of privacy, and it constitutes an illegal debt collection practice.
  • Contact you if you have an attorney: If you already hired an attorney and told a debt collector that you now have legal representation, he or she can no longer contact you directly. Instead, the debt collector must contact your attorney directly in all future communications.

If you are a victim of illegal debt collection tactics, consider discussing your situation with an attorney.