If you fall behind on paying your bills, you may notice debt collectors trying to contact you. The purpose of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is to protect consumers from harassment, abuse or oppression by creditors.
Debt collector harassment is an illegal and tiresome but understanding what steps you can take can help end the pestering.
What is creditor harassment?
Debt collectors may not harass you by telephone, mail or any other form of communication. Unfair and abusive behavior by debt collectors can take the form of calling you multiple times daily, using obscene language during the conversation, yelling over the phone, or calling you at inappropriate times such as very early or very late. Some other examples of harassment are threatening you with harm, calling you without revealing their identity and publishing names of people who refuse to pay.
What can you do to stop harassment?
It is good practice to keep all documents or letters you receive from a debt collector and copy anything you send in return. Record the caller’s name, dates, times and other details of any phone conversations. This information is pertinent in the future if you have a dispute with a debt collector.
If bill collectors are harassing you over the phone, you can hang up. Give a reason why you are ending the call. You also have the option to send a “Cease Communications Letter” to any creditors harassing you. This letter demands that the debt collector stop contacting you. Once the creditor gets your letter, they will likely contact you once more to notify you what they will do with your account.