Debt is incredibly easy to obtain, but seemingly impossible to resolve. Whether you have accumulated medical bills, college loans, or credit card bills, the knowledge of that debt probably hangs over your shoulders like a dark cloud. If you fail to make your regular payments, the companies to whom you owe money will begin to pursue you, but they are supposed to stay within the legal limits of debt collection. If they fail to stay within their bounds, it is considered creditor harassment, and you have legal means to put a stop to it.
About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA regulates the behavior of debt collectors in order to protect customers in precarious financial situations. Under FDCPA rules, a debt collector must identify himself during every phone call, notify you that you’re speaking with a debt collector for the purpose of collecting money, provide the name and address of the original creditor, and provide verification of the debt if requested.
Signs of Harassment
While persistency is to be expected, debt collectors have limits. They can only call during normal hours between 8AM and 9PM, and they can’t call over and over again with the intent to annoy you into answering. If you have filed bankruptcy or sent written notice either of your request to end communication or of your refusal to pay your debt, a debt collector must stop calling, and failing to cease communication is considered harassment.
Furthermore, debt collectors must be very clear and concise with their language. They cannot falsely represent themselves or threaten any type of legal action. Profane language is never allowed. If you become the victim of any of these actions, you need to call a lawyer and pursue it from a legal level. Many attorneys specialize in creditor harassment and can help you understand your legal rights and avenues forward to recover from the experience of harassment.
Since FDCPA is a strict liability law, you don’t need to prove damages to be awarded compensation. Simply proving the harassment can result in up to $1,000 plus attorney’s fees, but proving actual damage can increase the amount of compensation received.