There’s a significant likelihood that if you’ve ever been chased by a debt collector, you experienced harassment. However, “debt collection harassment” is a legal term with a specific definition. Because there is no black-and-white definition, oftentimes whether there is debt collector harassment is a case-by-case analysis. For example, calling two times in twelve hours might not be harassment, but if the consumer told the debt collector before these two calls that they did not owe the debt and that the consumer wanted them to stop calling, then that would likely be harassment. Similarly, to protect your privacy and to prevent the tactic of shaming debtors, collectors are prohibited from contacting people through postcards; envelopes showing the collection firm’s information; or posting “deadbeat” lists showing everyone that owes them a debt.

How many debt collection calls a day is considered harassment?

There is the “7-in-7” rule which states that it is presumed to be a debt collection violation if a debt collector calls more than seven times in a span of seven days, or within seven days after the debt collector already spoke with you about that particular debt. Moreover, a debt collector must inform the person who owes the debt that they are seeking to collect it and cannot pose as anybody other than a collector.

How do you stop creditor harassment?

If you are being contacted by a debt collector, you should first ask them to verify the debt amount and prove that you actually owe the debt. Debt collectors are required to share this information with you. If you believe that you do not owe the debt or would like the debt collector to stop contacting you, send the debt collector a letter informing them of the situation and notify them that you want them to stop contacting you. If a debt collector continues to contact you after this letter, then they have violated debt collection laws. Take action rather than letting collection harassment rule your life.

When is a debt collector not allowed to collect a debt?

Debt collectors are prohibited from:

  • Calling outside the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
  • Trying to collect the debt after it has been discharged in bankruptcy;
  • Attempting to collect a debt after the debt collector receives a cease and desist letter;
  • After you notify the debt collector that you are represented by an attorney;
  • When they are not licensed to collect debts in California;
  • File a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run on the debt.

Can a debt collector call my family, friends, or employer?

Even though it could be annoying or unpleasant, it is legal for a debt collector to phone your family or friends. However, the debt collector is only able to speak with the family member once. When speaking with family members, the debt collector is not allowed to tell the debtor’s family members the details of the debt, but instead can only generally ask about the debtor’s location. It is illegal for debt collectors to annoy you or your loved ones. You may and should notify the appropriate authorities about FDCPA infractions. To make collection activities far less stressful for you and your family, maintain composure, be aware of your rights, and utilize the resources at your disposal.

What if I don’t recognize the debt?

If you do not recognize a debt, you can have the debt collector validate the debt for you. Send a certified letter to the debt collector demanding that they:

  • Specify who is collecting the debt.
  • Request the debt’s validation.
  • Refrain from sharing your personal information.
  • Speak with the initial creditor, if known.

What creditor harassment laws exist?

The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which governs consumer debt collection in California, is designed to prevent debt collectors from using unfair or dishonest actions or practices to collect a consumer debt. Similarly, there is the federal version called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These laws were enacted to prevent debt collectors from using abusive behavior in their attempts to collect debts. These laws expressly forbid several of the most often used debt collection techniques, including the use of profane language, relentless phone calls that are harassing, disclosing the customer’s information to a third party, giving the consumer inaccurate information (lying to them), and threatening them. Additionally, these laws uphold the consumer’s right to legal process serving and a suitable courtroom.

Can a debt collector garnish wages?

A debt collector may be allowed to garnish your income or bank account if they get a court ruling in their favor. The government can even garnish your wages without a judgment on certain debts. However, some of the money in your account is automatically protected by federal law, such as Social Security, disability, retirement, child support, and alimony. Similarly, if you make below a certain amount, you could be protected from wage garnishment.

What should you do if you are harassed by a debt collector?

State and Federal law protect consumers. If a consumer has been harassed by a collection agency then they might be eligible for statutory damages of up to $1,000, as well as any actual damage suffered, and punitive damages depending on the specific circumstances. Furthermore, Debt Collection Harassment lawyers like Barthel Legal represent victims of harassment at no out-of-pocket costs to the client. Get a free consultation today by clicking here.