No one likes to be harassed by creditors. Whether it is the call that interrupts your family’s mealtime, or the tone of the callers themselves, it often seems as if their tactics are specifically designed to be disrespectful and confrontational. Short of taking legal action to prohibit credit collection calls, consumers often feel helpless to do anything other than block unknown numbers or put up with the abuse. The following are rules and guidelines that credit collection agencies are required to follow, as well as some tips to help prepare you the next time you get this type of call.
Unfair Practices by Debt Collectors
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the government agency established to prevent unfair practices and to make consumers aware of policies designed to protect their rights and interests. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), credit companies and debt collection agencies are prohibited from practices designed to intimidate or mislead consumers. The following are just some of the unfair practices that are restricted:
- Using abusive or obscene language;
- Making threats to have you arrested;
- Discussing your debts with anyone but you or your attorney;
- Using symbols or language in mailed correspondence that indicate they are a debt collection agency;
- Collecting charges in addition to debts that are prohibited by state laws;
- Depositing any post-dated bank checks you supply early;
- Falsely claiming to be an attorney;
- Making repeated harassing calls.
Victims of debt collection agencies who engage in the above type of practices may be entitled to file a lawsuit seeking attorney’s fees and other types of compensation.
Five Tips for Dealing With Debt Collection Companies
In addition to being aware of the types of practices, credit collection companies are prohibited from engaging in, there are steps you can take to deal more effectively with their calls.
- Get it in writing. Credit collections agencies are required to follow up with written statements within five days of a call.
- Question amounts. If you feel the charges claimed are more than what you owe, file a dispute in writing with the collection agency.
- Keep records. Make note of when and how often a collection agency calls, what was said, and the name of the caller.
- Watch what you say. Avoid giving information on where you work, your income, and any other debt you have.
- Negotiate. You may be able to negotiate a settlement on your debt for a reduced amount or one that eliminates interest charges.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney in San Diego Today
If you or someone you love is being harassed by a credit collection agency, contact a bankruptcy attorney today. At The Bankruptcy Law Center, we can help protect your rights when you are being harassed by creditors. Call or contact our office online to see how we can help you.