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Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers / Blog / Bankruptcy / Dealing with Creditor Harassment in California and Knowing Your Rights

Dealing with Creditor Harassment in California and Knowing Your Rights


In California, dealing with debt is challenging enough without the added stress of creditor harassment. At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, we understand the impact that such harassment can have on your life. Consult with the Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys at Wadhwani & Shanfeld for specific advice and legal remedies to handle creditor harassment effectively.

What Constitutes Harassment?

Creditor harassment includes repeated calls at unreasonable hours, threats of violence or legal action, the use of obscene language, and publicizing your debts. It’s important to know that you have legal rights that protect you from these abusive practices.

 California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

This state-specific act complements the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), offering additional protections to California residents against creditor harassment.

Steps to Deal with Creditor Harassment

Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with both the FDCPA and California’s Rosenthal Act. Understanding your rights is the first step in dealing with creditor harassment.

Document Everything: Keep a detailed record of all interactions with creditors or collection agencies. Note the date, time, and content of the calls or communications, as well as the name of the person you spoke with.

Communicate in Writing: Request all communication from creditors to be in writing. This provides a record and can sometimes dissuade harassment.

Set Boundaries: You have the right to tell creditors how and when to contact you. You can also request that they stop calling you, which they must comply with under the FDCPA.

 Legal Remedies and Actions 

Cease and Desist Letter: Send a cease and desist letter to the creditor or collection agency. This formally requests that they stop contacting you. While this doesn’t erase the debt, it can stop the harassment.

File a Complaint: If harassment continues, file a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Seek Legal Assistance: Consider consulting with an attorney experienced in consumer rights and debt collection laws. They can provide guidance and, if necessary, take legal action on your behalf.

 Lawsuits Against Creditors: If a creditor violates the FDCPA or the Rosenthal Act, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Successful cases can result in compensation for damages, including emotional distress.

Proactive Measures Against Harassment

Negotiate with Creditors: Proactively negotiate with creditors to reach a payment plan or settlement. This can often prevent harassment before it begins.

Credit Counseling: Consider credit counseling services. They can negotiate with creditors on your behalf and help you manage your debts more effectively.

Stay Informed: Keep abreast of changes in debt collection laws and practices. Being informed enhances your ability to protect yourself against harassment.

The Role of Bankruptcy

Automatic Stay: Filing for bankruptcy in California places an automatic stay on most debt collection efforts, including calls, letters, and lawsuits.

Discharge of Debts: Bankruptcy can lead to the discharge of certain debts, which legally prevents creditors from attempting to collect those debts.

Consult a Bankruptcy Attorney: If you’re considering bankruptcy as an option, consult with a bankruptcy attorney to understand how it can impact your situation, particularly with regard to creditor harassment.

Contact Wadhwani & Shanfeld

Creditor harassment can be a distressing experience, but there are specific steps and legal remedies available to Californians to address this issue. Knowing your rights, documenting interactions, and seeking legal assistance when necessary are key strategies in dealing with such harassment. At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, we are committed to helping our clients navigate these challenges and find the best path forward. Contact us for expert legal advice and support in managing creditor harassment and exploring your options, including the possibility of bankruptcy.

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