Being in severe debt is unpleasant and stressful enough without creditors calling you nonstop. Harassment from debt collectors not only makes the situation worse but is also illegal due to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
You do not have to suffer through such treatment regardless of how much money you owe and your ability to pay it off. You can end creditor harassment now by taking the following actions.
How to recognize creditor harassment
First, you need to know what constitutes harassment, as a simple phone call is not against the law. Debt collectors cannot do the following:
- Call continually with the purpose of harassing you
- Call at inappropriate hours or while you are at work
- Contact anyone else in your life concerning your debt
- Threaten you in any way
- Use profanity and other offensive language
- Lie about their identity, how much you owe or any other information
If any of these happen to you, document each instance in detail. You should also request further information about the debt and confirmation of the caller’s identity before answering personal questions.
Hire a lawyer
Call a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your legal options for stopping creditor harassment. A lawyer can write letters to creditors demanding that they cease contacting with you and only communicate through the firm. Your lawyer can also help you file an official complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or Florida’s attorney general.
Another way to prevent any more calls is to file for bankruptcy, which automatically stops all debt collection by creditors. Your lawyer can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your circumstances and can act as a middleman for communication between you and creditors.
If harassment continues even after you begin the bankruptcy process, inform the bankruptcy court so it can take legal action against violators. You also have the option to sue violators and receive damages and reimbursement of legal fees.