If you are in debt and unable to keep up with payments, you are already under a lot of stress. Unfortunately, you may also be facing constant calls from aggressive collectors.
While creditors have the right to call you about your debts, they must follow strict guidelines when doing so. In the U.S., federal law protects you and your family from abusive, dishonest or otherwise unfair behavior.
What does the law consider creditor harassment?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal for creditors to use intimidation, threats, lies or other aggressive tactics. Common examples of unlawful behavior by collectors include:
- Using obscene or abusive language
- Lying about their identity or the amount you owe
- Making many repeated calls in a short period of time
- Calling at unreasonable hours
- Publicly sharing information about your debt
- Threatening criminal prosecution
In many cases, it may also be illegal for a creditor to discuss your debt with a third party, including family members, neighbors or your employer.
What can you do about collector harassment?
From invasions of privacy to abusive behavior that leaves you feeling threatened and helpless, creditor harassment can create huge emotional distress for you and your family.
If you believe a collector’s behavior has crossed the line, you can report the agency to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
What about getting out of debt?
If you are facing overwhelming debt, you may also be able to gain immediate relief from collectors by filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition to putting a stop to harassing calls, filing for bankruptcy may help you to finally get a handle on your finances and make a solid plan for the future.