Very few people ever go into debt with the intention of not settling that debt. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and in some circumstances it can become too difficult to see an obligation through. Whether or not it was your intention to not settle a debt, your debt may be sold to a collection agency and you may fall victim to creditor harassment. If you are the victim of creditor harassment, it is important to know your rights under the law so that you are equipped to handle the situation appropriately.

Being harassed by a collection agency isn’t a pleasant experience. Sometimes, dealing with a collection agent can be miserable and can make you feel like there is nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, there are federal laws in place that prevent collection agencies from several types of harassment. It’s called the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act and it states specifically what collection agencies can and cannot do when attempting to collect a debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted to regulate debt collectors and to stop debt collection harassment. Because it is a federal law, all consumers within the United States are protected under its provisions.

Here are some examples of what qualifies as Harassment as per the FDCPA:

  • The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
  • The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
  • The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 603(f) or 604(3) of this Act.
  • The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt
  • Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in a telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
  • Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.

However, some collection companies out there do not follow these rules. As a consumer, it is good to know what they can and cannot do when attempting to collect a debt from you. A debt collector is allowed to call you if there is a genuine debt to recover. However they are often over “enthusiastic” and may end up placing too many calls or end up using tough language. This is considered to be harassment. The FDCPA helps punish harassment by debt collectors. The Act gives out specific guidelines on what is considered unlawful behavior. These guidelines are important in protecting our consumer rights.

Creditor harassment can drain your energy and create a stressful situation in your life. The good news is, it doesn’t have to. When you know your rights, you can stop creditor harassment and go back to living your life. If you or a loved one are the subject of debt collection efforts, we can help protect your rights and provide recourse against collectors that practice harassment during their attempts to get payment. If you have reason to believe a debt collection agency is stepping over the line, it might become necessary to talk to a lawyer or credit counseling agency today. We invite you to fill out the form on this page or call our office to talk with an experienced attorney today. We service the entire Tampa Bay Area and would like the chance to represent you.

If you would like more information on The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, here is the Federal Trade Commission weblink: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.shtm

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