The American people are saddled by debt. In fact, consumers in the United States hold more than $14 trillion in debt.
There are many different types of debt holding people back. Credit card and medical debt are two common forms. Younger Americans are often crushed by student loan debt.
Once you fall behind on the bills, the calls will start rolling in from debt collectors. They will stop at nothing to get a hold of you, even contacting friends and family members.
The good news is that you do not have to stand for debt collector harassment. Read on to learn what you can do about overly persistent debt collectors.
The Law Protects Consumers from Harassment
The United States government has taken action to protect consumers from harassment. Most notably, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Process Act (FDCPA).
For starters, the FDCPA prevents debt collectors from committing harassing or abusing behavior. This means they are not allowed to publish lists of consumers who owe a debt. It also outlaws repetitious phone calls intended to harass you.
The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting themselves. They have to identify themselves at the beginning of each phone call.
Debt collectors are also not allowed to make deceptive statements or levy threats. Therefore, the first thing you can do is know your rights. Explain to the debt collector that you will file a complaint to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CPFB).
Keep Detailed Records
Once the debt collector starts calling, it is time for you to start maintaining a detailed logbook. First, record the date and time of each collection call.
For the next part, it is important you keep a level head and extract as much information as possible. Jot down the key details of the phone call.
For example, how much does the debt collector say that you owe? Also, write down the debt collector’s company name, employee ID, and contact information. If any threats or claims are levied, take care to write down the specifics of that exchange.
This information will come in handy if you file a complaint or lawsuit. An attorney is certain to use it in defense against collectors.
A debt collector needs to provide you with verification of the debt. You certainly do not need to deal with a debt collector if they cannot do this.
Debt verification includes the provision of the creditor and the amount owed. During this phase, you retain the right to dispute the debt.
The timeframe for a dispute is typically 30 days. In response to a dispute, the collector needs to provide you with identifying information for the debt.
A Recap of Debt Collector Harassment
When your friends and family are hearing from debt collectors, things have gone too far. You do not have to put up with this type of harassment.
Know your rights under the FDCPA and fight back. If you enjoyed this article about debt collector harassment, check out our blog for other great legal content.