Most people want to pay off their debt; however, unfortunate circumstances in life can make it an extremely difficult task. On many occasions, a debt collector will work with those in debt and resolve the issue.
However, not every debt collector follows the rules. Consumers can experience hostility in the form of harassing, frequent phone calls or threats.
In order to protect customers from dealing with such behavior, here are seven occasions when customers can sue:
- Calling early, late, and at other inconvenient times. According to the federal Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA), it is a violation for a debt collector or calls a consumer before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or a time that is known to be inconvenient. If you were to inform the collector that you work evenings and you can’t answer the phone, they could not call.
- When an attorney is involved. It is another violation of the FDCPA if a collector calls despite being aware that you have legal representation. A consumer may attempt to file for bankruptcy and they’ve told the collector to stop contacting them.
- The use of automated or pre-recorded voice calls. The Telephone Consumer Act (TCPA) prohibits any company, including debt collectors, from calling you on your cellphone using an automated telephone system or pre-recorded voice without your express consent.
- Discussing debt with third parties. If a debt collector attempts to reach you by contacting third parties –such as family members, friends, or employers – and discusses your debt with them, it is another violation of the FDCPA. However, they are allowed to call and confirm your contact information.
- Making false threats. There are some debt collectors who threaten to take action without any merit or intention of following through. If they keep making threats without making them actually happen, they’ve violated the FDCPA. Using profanity and threatening violence are also considered violations.
- False representation. Whether over the phone or in writing, if a debt collector doesn’t disclose their identification to the consumer, it is another violation of the FDCPA.
- Misrepresenting the nature of the debt. A debt collector could not pressure family members to pay a deceased relative’s debt due to moral obligation unless they were co-signers or joint account holders.