Recognizing and Dealing With Debt Collector Harassment

With the current state of the economy and the home mortgage crisis, repaying personal debts and obligations has become difficult for many people.  If you fall into this category, know that you are not alone.  Many creditors use debt collection agencies to try and regain money lost from debtors that have fallen behind with their payments, and some of these collection agencies are very aggressive indeed.  Debt collector harassment is illegal, and what follows is a list of some signs that you may be a victim of harassment. 

  1. The collector is verbally abusive.  It is not up to the debt collector to judge you or accuse you of anything.  They are being paid a commission to collect money from you and are therefore very aggressive.  Any sort of yelling, demeaning, or abusive language is not only unacceptable, but illegal.



  1. The collector makes threats.  Debt collectors have been known to use a variety of coercive tactics to reclaim money, including threatening debtors with arrest.  Know that you cannot be arrested for non-payment of personal debts. 



  1. The collector won’t stop calling you.  Whether at home or at work, if a debt collector continues to call you after you have asked them to stop, it is harassment.  Once you have asked them to stop and they continue to contact you, they have crossed the line.



  1. The collector calls others regarding your debt.  Collectors may only contact others to find out your address, phone number, and place of employment.  If you have an attorney, they should contact them only.  If a collector gives out any information about you or your debt, they have broken the law.



  1. The collector uses misleading tactics.  Misleading tactics, such as pretending to be an attorney or anyone else besides a representative of a debt collection agency is illegal.  Collectors cannot misrepresent themselves legally.  If they have been asked to cease and desist, they must oblige.



These are just a few examples of what can be construed as harassment.  If you believe you are a victim of debt collector harassment, follow these steps: 

  • Stay calm.
  • Make arrangements, if possible.
  • If you are unable to make arrangements, ask them politely to stop calling you.
  • Write a letter asking the collection agency to refrain from contacting you.
  • Consult a bankruptcy attorney.



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