Examples Of Creditor Harassment: Don’t Fall For These If You Owe Someone Money
If you owe someone money but are behind in your obligations to pay, the chances are good you are hearing from creditors. Those creditors have a job to do, but sometimes they overstep their bounds when it comes to collecting money. In fact, sometimes they can become downright rude, obnoxious, and scary in their pursuit of what they want.
In 1977, the Federal government stepped in with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to limit the actions and behavior of these third-party debt collectors in their efforts to collect debts for another entity or person. This law was updated in 2010 to include some of the latest tricks they use to get you to make a payment.
What follows are examples of tactics debt collectors often use and how you can prevent becoming a victim of them. Knowing what these are can help you to stand up to them with much more confidence. If they keep pushing, you might need a lawyer.
Pretend to Work for the Government
The law prohibits any debt collector from presenting themselves as working for any agency of the government or a law enforcement agency. They also cannot say they work for a consumer credit agency.
Threaten You With Arrest
A debt collector cannot falsely claim they are going to have you arrested or claim you have committed a crime. Plainly stated, a debt collector does not have the authority to issue a warrant for an arrest. Further, having debt will not land you in jail.
Try to Get you to Pay a Debt You Don’t Owe
Some debt collectors will unknowingly or knowingly try to get you to pay a debt you don’t owe. This is often due to one company selling debt to another, and another, and another. Somewhere along the line, records become incorrect, which causes them to continue their efforts. If you have already paid, don’t be conned into paying again.
The law specifically states that debt collectors cannot threaten to harm you, use profane or obscene language when talking to you, call you repeatedly, call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m., or call you at work.
Call You Without Identifying Themselves
A debt collector must tell you who they are and who they represent.
Publicly Shame You
Sometimes, debt collectors will threaten to put you on a published list of those who owe others money. Public humiliation is illegal.
A Debt Collector Cannot Make False Statements
A debt collector cannot use false, misleading, or deceptive practices in their pursuit of a debt. Further, they cannot misrepresent the following:
· They are an attorney when they are not
· The amount owed
· Threaten to do something illegal
· Threaten to do something they have no intention of doing
Use Unfair Practices
A debt collector cannot use unfair practices, such as telling you to pay them with post-dated checks or take or threaten to take your property to satisfy a debt.
Contact You After You Tell Them to Stop
Once you tell them to stop contacting you, they must stop. Period.
Contact You Through an Attorney
A debt collector must contact you through an attorney if you are being represented by one.
When debt collectors start contacting you, it can be overwhelming. When this happens, it’s always best to step back and think through your options for getting the debt settled. It will give you an entirely new perspective.