Janice M. asks:
“I’ve had a credit card for years that I always pay on time. But I keep receiving collections letters and phone calls saying that I owe a large debt on the account. How can I stop this harassment when I don’t owe a dime?”
It’s never fun being hounded by a debt collector. In this episode I’ll tell you the best ways to deal with a collector no matter if it’s a mistake or you have a financial hardship. Knowing your rights is the best way to prevent debt collections harassment.
What is Debt Collections Harassment?
Many people don’t realize that there are federal and state laws that debt collectors—such as collections agencies and attorneys—have to follow. The main federal law for personal debt is called The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). It prohibits debt collectors from harassing you, even when you owe money.
Illegal harassment includes the following:
- threatening harm or violence
- calling you repeatedly
- using obscene or profane language
- misrepresenting personal or company identity
- saying or doing anything deceptive or misleading
- threatening to contact your employer about a debt
Debt collectors also can’t contact you at unusual times or places. For instance, they can’t call you before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. Nor can they call you at work if they’ve been informed that you’re not allowed to take calls there.