As A Consumer, You Have Rights!
Being hounded by creditors can be an incredibly stressful experience. The Federal Government has stated that predatory practices by creditors contribute to an increasingly high number of bankruptcies, cause marital instability, and harm the economy in both big ways and small. This was the inspiration for the creation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Wait, Creditors Have Laws?
Yes. Although it may seem like the wild, wild, west, there are actual specific rules and guidelines that debt collectors must follow. Both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) outline strict guidelines that debt collectors must legally follow. These laws can have real consequences for being violated—the debt collecting organization can lose its membership and certification with ACA International, preventing them from operating in some states. You can also sue them. If your lawsuit is successful, you will be awarded a minimum of $1,000 in statutory damages as well as attorney’s fees.
Signs Your Creditor is Violating Your Rights
- They have contacted your family and/or friends and told them about your debt or tried to collect your debt from them. Legally, debt collectors can contact your family and friends a single time in order to get your contact information or address. However, they are not legally permitted to disclose that they are collecting a debt, they cannot attempt to collect your debt from family and friends, and they cannot call more than once. If your family and friends are receiving calls from creditors, ask them to document the time/date of the calls, as well as the caller so you have a record of these violations.
- You have asked them not to call you at work, but they continue to do so. Creditors have a right to contact you at work but must stop once you request that they do so, particularly if the request is a written letter. If creditors continue to contact you at work after you have made such a request, document all instances.
- They call you at unreasonable times (usually before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.). If this happens, document all instances of calls received at unreasonable times.
- You receive multiple calls from the same debt collector daily. This is considered harassment and is not legal. Make sure to document any instances of multiple calls or other creditor harassment.
- They have made threats to try and get you to pay your debt. This is considered harassment and is illegal. Make sure to document any threats or perceived attempts at intimidation in as much detail as possible.
- They are asking you for more than you owe. Legally creditors cannot ask you for more than you owe, this would be considered harassment.
Contact an Experienced Debtors Rights Attorney
If your creditor has committed any of the above violations or has engaged in behavior that you believe is illegal or harassing, contact an experienced Debtor’s Rights Attorney as soon as possible to find out what your options are. It can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming process dealing with predatory creditors on top of the stresses already inherent in surviving debt. The lawyers at Guardian Litigation Group are committed to protecting debtors from predatory practices and are ready to fight for you. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.