If you are in debt and can no longer keep up with payments, you may be facing overwhelming stress, both financial and emotional. Unfortunately, you may also be dealing with constant creditor calls that make it difficult to focus on getting your life back on track.
Even more, unfortunately, some creditors may use aggressive or even dishonest tactics to collect. If this is the case, you should know that federal law makes it illegal for creditors to attempt to intimidate debtors by using abusive, misleading or overly invasive practices when contacting you.
What is creditor harassment?
The U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act makes it illegal for creditors to use threatening, harassing or dishonest behavior when communicating with you or your family members. Common examples of prohibited collector actions include:
- Offering false information about their identity
- Lying about the amount you actually owe
- Using obscene, threatening or demeaning language
- Calling at unreasonable hours or making many repeated calls in a short period
- Making information about your debt public
- Threatening you with criminal prosecution
It may also be unlawful for a debt collector to contact a third party about money you may owe, including communicating with family members, neighbors or employers.
What can you do to stop harassing creditor calls?
If you believe a debt collector has been using unethical behavior, you can report the creditor to the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
However, for immediate relief, you may want to consider filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When filing for bankruptcy, the court enforces an automatic stay that prohibits creditors from further collections actions, including wage garnishment.