Signs of Creditor Harassment
What is Considered Harassment By a Creditor?
Creditor harassment is more than an inconvenience; it’s illegal. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors must adhere to strict guidelines regarding their communication with debtors.
If you feel threatened or harassed by a creditor, you can seek legal help.
Should you file for bankruptcy, collectors are not permitted to contact you for repayment anymore, providing an additional layer of protection from unfair treatment.
Identifying Harassing Behavior From Debt Collectors
The FDCPA states that debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person while seeking payment for a debt.
Creditor harassment includes a wide range of behaviors such as the following:
- Using violence or threats of violence
- Damaging the debtor’s reputation
- Using foul or obscene language
- Repeated, annoying phone calls
These forms of abuse are easy to identify, but the FDCPA prohibits other behaviors as well:
- Creditors are not allowed to give misleading or false representation. This includes using fake badges or uniforms to intimidate debtors, pretending to be a legal representative, or pretending to be any form of law enforcement.
- Creditors cannot exaggerate the size of your debt in order to get payment.
- They cannot provide false information about the debt’s legal status or any legal action that the creditor may or may not take against you — this includes false threats of legal action.
How to Protect Your Rights
If creditors repeatedly contact you for payment, keep a careful record of your interactions with them, even if their behavior doesn’t qualify as “harassment” yet. Keep a record of written and verbal communication, and when you speak with a collector, note the data and record what you said. These records may protect your rights if you end up with a dispute with the debt collector.