Debt Collection Harassment: How to Protect Yourself
As debt has become a profitable business, debt collection agencies have sprouted and thrived throughout the country. Unfortunately, these agencies and the debt collectors they employ can become overly aggressive in their efforts to collect money from debtors, sometimes to the point that they violate the law and the rights of consumers. It happens all the time. In fact, the problem of debt collection harassment is so prolific that it is the top complaint received by federal consumer agencies.
If you or someone you know has experienced problems with debt and financial uncertainty, you are likely familiar with some of the abusive tactics utilized by debt collectors and how far they may go when pursuing a debtor. When these tactics stray from ethical conduct and violate federal law, consumers have the ability to protect themselves and assert their rights.
At Atlas Consumer Law, our Chicago consumer attorneys have helped numerous clients throughout Illinois after they were victimized by abusive debt collectors and creditors who failed to abide by the law. With a talented legal team that has decades of collective experience handling matters under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and other important laws, we are able to effectively guide clients through the legal channels needed to hold debt collectors accountable for harassment and help our clients secure compensation after violations occur.
In a recent article from WKYC – How to get the last laugh at abusive debt collectors – it is explained how debt collectors commonly violate the law, and particularly the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers and establishes guidelines for what debt collection agencies can and cannot do. Aside from lies, threats, and intimidation used to compel people into paying debts, the FDCPA also prohibits the use of:
- Calls early in the morning or late and night
- Excessive phone calls
- Contacting someone who has known legal representation
- False claims of being an attorney of official of the government
- False claims that they can have a consumer arrested
- Discussing a consumer’s debt with anyone other than the consumer, their spouse, or attorney
The article also features input from Marc Dann, the former Attorney General of Ohio, who reminds us that debtor’s prison was abolished in America 200 years ago. Today, our government understands that consumers who find themselves in debt deserve to be treated fairly, which is precisely why laws such as those under the FDCPA exist.
While the nuts and bolts of a creditor harassment case can be effectively handled by a seasoned lawyer, it is important to recognize when your rights are being violated so that you can take action. Additionally, you should also be aware that there are other things that can work in your favor, such as making a debt collector prove that you owe them money.
Debt collection agencies frequently buy debt for pennies on the dollar from creditors, which means they are not the original creditor or lender with whom you established a contract. As Dann states, debt collection agencies that attempt to collect from you may not have the original contract, statements, or relevant documentation associated with your debt. If they are unable to prove that you owe them money, they cannot collect on the debt.
When it comes to protecting yourself from debt collection harassment, pursuing a lawsuit, or ensuring that you actually owe a debt collector money, working with a consumer attorney can make the difference. Our team at Atlas Consumer Law is passionate about protecting the rights of our clients and helping them take the appropriate legal steps to resolving harassment and, if necessary, addressing larger issues associated with their debt and finances.
If you have questions about debt collection harassment or any other consumer law issue, our team is readily available to help. Contact us today to discuss your case!