How to Know Whether Debt Collection Harassment is Happening to You

Personal Injury Lawyer

Many consumers in today’s society have accumulated some amount of debt, whether that be in the hundreds or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Each person and their personal financial situation is different. But the way a debt collection seeks payment for overdue debts may be quite similar. It is not uncommon for a consumer to endure harassment from a debt collector. Such an agency may use fear and intimidation as a way to get a consumer to pay. However, it is crucial that a consumer understands when this behavior may be violating rights and breaking both state and federal laws.  

Where can I report an alleged violation of a debt collector?

As a consumer, you can report suspicions of harassment or deception from a debt collector to your state attorney general’s office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and a knowledgeable attorney. An attorney can help you determine what your rights are under state and federal law. 

How do I know whether harassment is happening to me?

If a consumer has an unsettled feeling that the way a debt collector is going about seeking payment just isn’t right, then they are probably correct. When a consumer is harassed, they may experience the following actions from a debt collector:

  • Using curse words, threats or profane language to pressure the consumer into paying
  • Calling the consumer’s home, cell and workplace repeatedly regarding debts
  • Contacting the consumer outside the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm
  • Trying to get the consumer to make a payment that is more than what they owe
  • Making false threats that the consumer will be taken into custody if payment is not submitted within a designated period of time 

What are my chances of receiving financial compensation for the harassment?

The more evidence you can bring forward regarding the harassment you experienced from the collection agency, the higher your chances can be of being awarded financial retribution. Those who are considering filing a lawsuit may want to gather letters, emails, text messages, voicemails and statements from family and friends about the debt collector’s unethical practices. When first receiving such aggressive contact, a consumer may be tempted to throw away letters and delete voicemails. However, these can be used as evidence if legal action must be taken.

Can a debt collector take money out of my paychecks?

In some circumstances, a debt collector can seek payment for debt through garnishing a portion of your wages. However, the collector must obtain a court order first before doing so. A collector may also request the court that money is retrieved from your bank account for outstanding debts. If a collector has done this without getting approval from the courts first, it may be in the consumer’s best interest to get legal assistance immediately.

What can I do to take action?

A consumer who is suffering harassment, deception or discriminatory treatment from a debt collection agency can meet with an attorney for a case consultation. After getting legal advice, a consumer can decide whether they want to file a lawsuit to get the harassment to stop, in addition to seeking financial compensation for the trouble.