Debt collector harassment is against the law
You might a owe money to a debt collection agency. And they have every right to collect.
But there are things they don’t have the right to do.
- They don’t have the right to lie to you.
- They don’t have the right to harass you.
- They don’t have the right to misrepresent the debt to you or the credit bureau.
- They don’t have the right to contact your friends,co-workers or relatives
- They don’t have the right to threaten you with bogus lawsuits
Yet we see debt collectors engage in this sort of thing all the time, and if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a harassing call from a collection agency, it’s a conversation you’re not likely to forget.
You’re trying to stay on top of your bills, and here’s this stranger, trying to shame you into making payments you can’t afford.
While most debt collectors operate within the bounds of the law and will work with you to negotiate a payment plan, there are some who use abusive, offensive tactics to try to collect. In cases like these, it’s important to know your rights and the law that protects you from debt collector abuse.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers
Adopted more than 40 years ago, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers in PA and NJ and around the nation from unfair debt collection practices and behavior.
The law covers a broad range of consumer debt obtained primarily for personal, family and household purposes such as, credit cards, loans - education, personal or auto, utilities and medical bills.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors can’t threaten to take an action they don’t intend to take (“We can sue you!”) and they can’t contact your friends and family about your debt. The law also gives you the right to ask the collector to only call at certain times of day.
The law requires debt collectors to:
- Identify themselves during every communication
- Notify consumers that information gained during the call will be used to collect their debt and of their right to dispute the debt
- Provide verification of the debt
- Provide the name and address of the original creditor
- File lawsuits in the proper venue
What are some common FDCPA violations?
The FDCPA prevents debt collectors from:
- Harassing or abusing you
- Continuing to contact you after you make a written request for them to stop
- Giving you false or misleading information about your debt
- Failing to disclose they are a debt collector
- Claiming to work for a credit bureau
- Misrepresenting or exaggerating the amount of your debt
- Contacting you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. without your permission
- Contacting you on your cellphone without permission
- Threatening tax consequences or to report you to the IRS if untrue
- Putting your personal account info on an envelope or sending it in such a way that your personal information shows through the envelope
- Failing to tell credit bureaus that you’re disputing a debt
- Continuing collection efforts after you’ve filed for bankruptcy
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue, and they will be responsible for your legal fees.
While there are many ways to identify abusive debt collection practices, attempting to stop debt collector harassment on your own can be difficult.
Chances are your life is already complicated if you’re deeply in debt. You might be out of work, going through a divorce or dealing with a serious illness.
That’s where the attorneys of Flitter Milz can help. Our debt collection lawyers can work with you to take the steps you need to stop the harassment. When a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue and they’ll be responsible for the legal fees?.
I’m being harassed by a debt collector. What can I do?
If you’re being harassed, the first thing you should do is make a log that documents every collection call or contact, with notes detailing the threatening behavior.
Include the dates and times of the calls, the number that shows up on your caller ID, the name of the employee you spoke with and what they said. You may want to have someone else with you to act as a witness.
To stop abusive collection contact you may send a cease and desist letter to that collection agency. It is important to send this letter by Certified Mail, Return Receipt so that you have a record that your letter was received.
Under the FDCPA, the collector must comply with your request. If the collector continues to contact you after being told to stop, they may have violated your rights under the FDCPA. But once a collector has been informed to stop contact, the creditor usually re-assigns the collection to a new collection agency or collection law firm.
If you plan to dispute a debt, you should do so in writing. Tell the collector they’ve made a mistake and you don’t think you owe the debt. Ask them to show written proof that the debt is yours and how they arrived at the figure they say you owe. Always keep a copy of the letter you send.
Do I need debt collection abuse lawyers?
Most people don’t feel confident enough to sue abusive debt collectors. But an experienced debt collection lawyer can protect your rights against debt collectors who have violated the FDCPA.
Flitter Milz is skilled at representing consumers in cases where collectors abuse the FDCPA. Our Philadelphia attorneys know the law and pursue cases against debt collectors and collection law firms that use illegal tactics.
It’s time to stop feeling threatened and shamed by collection agencies and the lawyers who represent them. Take action now.
If you’re getting collection calls or letters, contact our debt collection abuse attorneys. We can review these communications at no cost to you.
And be sure to review the list of collectors we’ve successfully taken to court on behalf of consumers like you in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and around the U.S.
Learn more about debt collection
A collector has contacted me. What are my rights?
When are collectors permitted to call about a debt?
Can collectors speak with someone else about my debt?
Common violations of the FDCPA
I don’t recognize the debt. What information must the collector provide?
I don’t think I owe the debt. How do I dispute the debt?
How can I stop abusive collectors from contacting me?
I’ve been sued by a collector. What should I do?
Can collectors contact me after I have hired an attorney?
How do I enter a payment plan with a debt collector?
Who is a debt collector?
Who is the creditor?
What is a debt buyer?
When is a lawyer a debt collector?
Flitter Milz Track Record: Debt Collection Cases (partial list)
- Berry v. ARS National Services, Inc.
- Brown v. Card Service Center
- Campuzano-Burgos v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., 2008
- Douglass v. Convergent Outsourcing
- Durr v. Rochester Credit Center, Inc.
- Dutterer v. Thomas Kalperis Intern., Inc.
- Good v. Nationwide Credit, Inc.
- Gregory v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc.
- Harlan v. NRA Group, LLC, 2011
- Hishmeh v. Cabot Collection Systems, LLC, 2014
- Holmes v. Mann Bracken, LLC, 2009
- Jackson v. Midland Funding LLC
- Lesher v. Law Offices Of Mitchell N. Kay, PC
- McCall v. Drive Financial Services, L.P.
- Mushinsky v. Nelson Watson & Assoc., LLC
- Nelson v. Select Financial Services, Inc.
- Palmer v. Credit Collection Services, Inc.
- Reed v. Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC, 2009
- Regan v. Law Office of Edwin A. Abrahamsen & Associates, P.C.
- Richards v. Client Services, Inc.
- Rosenau v. Unifund Corp.
- Rosenberg v. Academy Collection Services, Inc., 2007
- Shaw v. Hayt Hayt & Landau, LLC
- Smith v. Hecker, 2005
- Smith v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc.
- Smith v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc., 257 F.R.D. 429 (E.D. Pa. 2009)
- Velez v. Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC
- Wagner v. Client Services, Inc.
- Womack v. National Action Financial Services, 2007