Has a debt collector gone too far?

Falling behind on your debt payments may leave you feeling anxious, scrambling to juggle money and worrying about the future if you can’t catch up. It can also leave you dealing with the aggressive tactics of debt collectors. If you are late on your mortgage payment, credit cards or other bills, you may dread the sound of your phone ringing, the notification of a message or even a knock at the door.

Fortunately, the law places strict limitations on the methods debt collectors may use to intimidate you into making a payment. Knowing your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may help you to deal more effectively with harassing debt collectors until you figure out the most appropriate way to manage the issue of your overwhelming debt.

Don’t be a victim of creditor harassment

Collection agencies and departments know how upsetting it can be for a consumer to receive a call demanding payment on a debt. They take full advantage of that insecurity, and sometimes that includes stepping over the lines drawn by the FDCPA. If a creditor or collection agency is using any of the following tactics, you would be wise to seek legal advice about your options for getting them to stop:

  • Calling constantly even after you ask them to stop
  • Calling at obviously inconvenient times, like holidays
  • Contacting you outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Contacting you while you are at work
  • Using obscenities, verbally abusing you or making threats to harm you
  • Threatening to have you arrested, confiscate your property or jeopardize your job
  • Disclosing your debt to your employer, neighbors, friends or others not connected to the situation
  • Contacting your Pennsylvania employer, family, friends or others to obtain information about your whereabouts
  • Failing to provide you with information you request about the debt

Debt collectors may also try to get you to pay what you do not owe. They may insist you owe more than the actual overdue amount, try to convince you that you still owe a debt you paid off or demand payment on a debt that has expired. It is always wise to request written validation of the debt before agreeing to send money, even a single dollar. You may also find that certain debt relief options, such as bankruptcy, will put an immediate end to harassing creditor calls.