If you have credit cards and have done some shopping with them, you must pay them off as soon as possible so that you don’t incur debts. When you keep the credit card balances unpaid, debt collectors start harassing you over the phone. The calls are not usually friendly or understanding in nature. They demand the payment money from you. If the debt is yours, they can send you legal notice if you don’t answer them. However, they are not entitled to harass the debtors.
FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act): what is it?
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the debt collection agencies are not entitled to use abusive language. They can’t practice unfair means to collect the debt from the debtors. The debts that are covered under the FDCPA are personal and family debts, auto loans, mortgages, etc. But if you’ve incurred debts while running a business of your own, the FDCPA won’t cover them.
Read the article to know how the debt collectors can harass you to collect debts. It will help you to understand when to take action against them.
Be aware of the ways the debt collectors may harass you
There are certain ways by which debt collectors abuse their powers to collect debts from the debtors. But the FTC has put a stop to these practices by enforcing the FDCPA. According to FDCPA, debt collectors are not entitled to harass the debtors.
Read the article to know which debt collection practices are considered abusive:
Harassing someone else for your debt
If the collection agency or the debt collectors harass your friends or your family members for the debt you’ve incurred, you can take action against them and complain to the FTC. The debt collectors are supposed to contact your attorney first, but if you have none, then they can contact someone else for your contact information and phone numbers.
Contacting at their convenience
Even if you owe to the debt collectors money, they cannot contact you before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night. If you have given them permission to do so, they can do it and not otherwise. They are also not supposed to call you during office hours. If they don’t abide by these rules, you can sue them in the state court. If you don’t owe the debt, the court can ask debt collectors to pay you for the damages.
Harassment for debt
The debt collectors cannot harass you for collecting the money you owe them. They cannot keep calling you for the money or use profanities to collect debts. They can never insult you publicly or even over the phone. If they threaten to harm you or resort to any violence, you can report it to the FTC or your local attorney general. They cannot also publish the names of the debtors but they can report it to the credit reporting companies.
The debt collectors cannot tell you things that can upset you such as they can put you in jail for not paying their money. They also cannot threaten you with a garnishment or falsely claim that they can seize your property if you don’t pay their money. They can sue in a court of law but cannot resort to things that are illegal. So get all the knowledge about what a collection agency can do if you do not pay their money.
Debt collectors can never pose as someone else to collect a debt from you. If you see that they falsely claim to be attorneys or a person of law to collect your money, complain to the FTC. They also can never take more than what you owe or even claim to work for the credit reporting companies. They are no one to tell you that you’ve committed a crime by owing their money and not paying it. Just check the document that they send you to see whether or not they’re legal.
To collect their money, debt collectors cannot harm you physically. They cannot collect any extra amount on the debt unless the state law allows it. They cannot contact you by postcard or deposit a post-dated check in your account. Illegal practices are completely prohibited by the FDCPA and if they break the rules, they can be sued in state court.
Try to pay off what you owe so that you don’t have to fall into any such situations. But if you are still harassed for the debt you don’t owe, contact the FTC for further information.
Is it possible to find free legal help to avoid debt collection harassment?
The debt collectors can threaten you to retrieve the owed amount if you default on your payment. They can employ illegal debt collection practices to take money from you. To avoid the harassing collection calls from the creditors. You can get legal help to avoid collection calls as there are many options that you can avail of.
Where can you get free legal advice?
There are different ways to get free legal help to get rid of debt collection calls. You can get help from the public websites that provide information regarding debt related issues. There are many sites that can help you deal with the harassing collection calls. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling or NFCC provides a number of certified counselors who can help you pay back the owed amount and guide you to avoid getting into debt in the future.
How to avoid the debt collection harassment
Bankruptcy is feasible if you are unable to repay the total debts. Filing bankruptcy can take a toll on your credit score. Thus, debt settlement can be an option to repay debts. If you are facing financial hardship and are unable to repay even the reduced amount, then bankruptcy is the last resort.
Once, you file bankruptcy, you can get rid of the collection calls and harassment. The court will calculate your property worth to repay your debts. It will affect your credit health. After getting out of debt, you can start afresh to build your credit score. If you manage your bills and credit cards well, you can get back to a good credit score pretty fast.
If you have an insurmountable amount of debts, then it is advisable to negotiate with the creditors to lower the outstanding balance. Thus, you can afford the debt payments. You can hire the services of a debt settlement company for this job. It might suggest a suitable debt relief program after reviewing your financial situation. The firm will design a repayment plan in accordance with your financial situation so that it can be affordable for you to pay off debts.
Lastly, if the creditors file a lawsuit against you, then the court might order wage garnishment or use other methods to retrieve the owed amount. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid legal hassle. You can seek free legal advice to eliminate your financial woes.