How Can I Stop Creditor Harassment?
If you’re behind on your finances, you may be getting bombarded with calls from creditors. While it’s easy enough to ignore the calls or hit cancel on your smartphone, every single call can be a reminder of your struggles and add to your stress. However, you do have rights. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established to protect your rights as a consumer. Specifically, it enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits creditors from using abusive language and deceptive practices of collection, such as:
- Pretending to be a lawyer or a member of law enforcement
- Calling your home at unreasonable hours
- Contacting your friends, family, or neighbors to talk about your debt
- Calling you at work or talking to your employees about your debt
- Threatening to call the police and have you sent to jail unless you pay
- Trying to collect a debt that has already been paid or discharged
- Trying to collect more than what is owed
- Threatening to sell or repossess your property
If you are constantly being harassed, the first thing to do is write the debt collector a letter telling them to stop contacting you. Under FDCPA, they must follow your request, however, if you plan to pay off the debt, you should come to an agreement instead. Be sure to also document all illegal behavior; keep a log of the harassment. You can even have a friend or family member be a witness to the harassment. While you can record your conversations, you’ll first have to check with your state’s laws. Next, file a complaint with the FTC and include the collection agency’s name, address and other information. You can also send a complaint to your state’s agency that deals with creditor harassment and the collection agency harassing you.
You can also file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you do, all creditors’ collections actions against you are automatically stopped. If you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, creditors and bill collectors are required by federal law to direct collections calls and correspondence to them. In addition to stopping creditor harassment, any legal action that a creditor has started against you will be stopped, including wage garnishment, foreclosure and auto repossessions.
If you owe debts and are late with payments, bankruptcy may be the solution for you. Contact our Murrieta bankruptcy attorneys at Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. today to discuss your options.
Call (951) 779-1610 or contact us online for a free consultation.