No one ever wants to deal with debt collectors, especially with their grim reputation and the nasty way they can sometimes conduct their business. Most debt collectors will remain relatively respectful and calm, but a few out there can press their boundaries so far that they actually begin to act in illegal ways.
When handling harassing debt collectors, it is important to know how to identify the harassment first and foremost. This way, you can take action to protect yourself.
What is debt collector harassment?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines debt collector harassment and what it may look like. Harassment can take many forms, as this is an umbrella term that covers numerous behaviors and actions. Some of the most common include:
- Cursing or using foul language
- Making physical threats of bodily harm
- Making threats of eviction
- Threatening other members in the house
- Calling repeatedly, without identification and/or at odd hours
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) went into effect in order to protect people like you from these demeaning, manipulative and sometimes downright frightening behaviors.
In addition, it protects from debt collector misrepresentation, which can include lying about legal authority or power that they do not have. Common examples include debt collectors pretending they have arrest warrants when they do not, or lying and stating that they have an attorney on staff when that is not the case.
If you face debt collectors acting in a way that violates the FDCPA, you can take them to court. You can also file for bankruptcy to stop the harassment in its tracks, as creditors cannot contact you in any way if you have filed for it. Consider contacting legal aid to learn more about your options.