Dealing with debt collectors is not a fun experience for anyone. However, the debt collectors often feel bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which often limits how they can interact with the people they collect debts from.
Unfortunately, not every collector will abide by the FDCPA, though. In these situations, they could mistreat the people they collect from.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses the missteps that debt collectors can take when handling their collections. First, they may harass a person. Harassment techniques differ and can include either direct engagement or threats, or more obscure ones.
Examples of harassing behavior include directly threatening a victim about eviction, calling at all hours of the day or night without leaving identifying messages, or engaging in surveillance behaviors. This can include sending a collector to park outside of the victim’s property and simply watch them throughout the day or night.
Next, they may engage in misrepresentation. This includes lying in order to evoke a sense of urgency in the victim. For example, they may lie that they have a warrant for a person’s arrest or eviction despite a lack of true involvement from the police. An agent may pretend they are a lawyer to try making a person feel like eviction is a real threat. They may also exaggerate the amount of money owed to push a person into paying it back faster.
Either of these acts are illegal under the FDCPA. Those who experience activities that fall under either category have legal grounds to take action against the person or people harassing them.