Creditor Harassment Laws
Credit card companies and other lenders will do everything to entice you to spend or borrow more than you can afford, but will hound you when you cannot pay them back. The law does allow them to do certain things to pressure you to repay what you owe, but creditors and debt collectors sometimes go overboard. That is they sometimes get abusive and intimidating in their collection efforts. You can actually report creditor harassment and bring an end to the uncomfortable situation. There is also a way to stop them from hounding you even if what they are doing is not illegal.
No creditor has the right to bully and harass you just because you owe them a lot of money. The Unfair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says that creditors and debt collectors are not allowed to:
- Not identify themselves as debt collector or creditor
- Contact you at an unusual time or place (before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.)
- Harass you on the phone or any other form of contact
- Contact you when you already have an attorney representing you
- Use deceptive tactics such as impersonating law enforcement or representative of government agency
- Harm a debtor’s reputation
- Contact people close to you like family, friends or neighbors
- Use obscene or derogatory words when contacting you
You are allowed to tell the debt collector not to contact you at work or contact your friends or family. You will still have to pay the debt but you don’t have to tolerate the harassment from creditors or debt collectors.
What To Do When Debt Collector Harasses You
You can file a lawsuit under the Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) against the debt collector or creditor that harasses you. This may result in the court awarding you actual damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and court costs. You can also file a lawsuit under the federal FDCPA which if successful can result in the court awarding you $1,000 in statutory damages and more if you were harmed in any way by debt collectors.
Pay Proven And Accurate Debt
Make sure you ask for proof of a debt and verify if it is accurate before you pay that debt. Ask the debt collector to show you the documentation of that debt. If they have no documentation or the documentation is inaccurate then you are not liable for the debt. There were many cases where debt collectors targeted people who did not owe a certain debt or did not owe as much as the debt collector claimed they did. This has become very common because of third parties buying debt from lenders and other financial institutions.
Negotiate With The Creditor
Talk to an experienced attorney to help you negotiate a repayment arrangement with your creditor. For example, you and the creditor can agree on making smaller payments over a certain period, or the creditor can agree to reduce the amount you have to pay. In your negotiations, do not give the debt collector access to your checking or savings account.