Too often individuals who have lost their jobs or who have suffered major medical problems and now live under the weight of massive medical bills suffer the indignity of being harassed and abused by debt collectors. This harassment and abuse can take the form of continuous and repeated calls at all hours of the night at home and work, offensive language and name-calling, and threats of violence, lawsuits, and seizure of property.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) actually makes this type of behavior by debt collectors illegal. It gives you a way to seize control and potentially collect damages and attorney’s fees for the abuse and harassment you have suffered. Enacted in 1977, the FDCPA prohibits and prescribes certain behavior by third-party debt collectors. The FDCPA prohibits harassment, which can include:
- Threats of violence or harm;
- Use of obscene, abusive, or demeaning language;
- Repetitious calls that are designed to annoy, abuse, or harass; and
- Making calls to early in the day or too late at night.
If you are being subjected to this type of harassment or abuse, there are a few things you should do. First, you should take careful notes of the calls and letters that are receiving. You will need to identify the debt collector that is calling, as well as the dates and times at which you are being called. You should also make notes of the conversations at the time that the calls occurred or immediately afterwards.
You can also make the contact stop by writing a letter the collector and instructing them not to contact you in the future. This letter does not prohibit a debt collector from filing a lawsuit against you, but it should stop the immediate contacts and calls.
If you believe that a debt collector’s behavior towards you violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, call Donati Law, PLLC immediately so that we can fully inform you of your rights and determine whether legal action by you against the collector is warranted.