Did Debt Collectors Harass You?
To a point, we all think of debt collections calls as harassment. They’re embarrassing reminders of the fact that we can’t always pay our bills. However, in many cases, collections callers are just trying to do their job. They’re not trying to go out of their way to hurt you, and most of the time, they’re very sympathetic with women who are down on their luck.
That being said, there are always going to be a bunch of bad eggs that you need to watch out for. When you have a bad debt collection agency on your tail, it can feel like you’ve just walked into your own living nightmare. There have been many cases in which people fell into depression, or even had PTSD due to collections calls.
Harassment by collections agents is illegal, and if you suspect that you have been harassed by a collector, you might actually be entitled to compensation. If collections agents don’t follow the rules, they can get into serious trouble. Here are some of the most common rules that are broken by collections agents.
1. The agent calls at strange times. A collections call should take place before 8 AM, or after 9 PM. Those hours are considered “quiet hours,” and are generally assumed to harm a person’s ability to sleep.
2. The agent threatened you, called you names, or otherwise abused you verbally. This is the most blunt rule that they are bound to. At no point are collections agents allowed to make you feel threatened or unsafe. At no point are they allowed to call you names, use profanity, or otherwise make you feel seriously upset by the way they speak with you. The only time that they are allowed to threaten you is if they actually are about to take you to court.
3. You found out that the collections agent approached friends or family about your debt. This is considered to be an egregious violation of privacy, and shouldn’t be tolerated. Your debt is your business – no one else’s.
4. After you had told debt collectors not to call you at work, they’ve called you at work. Current laws prohibit them from doing this, primarily because it can cause you to lose your job in certain cases.
5. You get the feeling that collectors are calling you just to annoy you at times. An exceptionally high frequency of calls can be considered to be harassment, regardless of how much you owe.
6. The debt collectors in question used obviously embarrassing methods to show that you owe them money. Once again, they are not allowed to make a public spectacle of any of their victims. Embarrassing methods can include postcards, visiting a person’s place of employment, or even using a billboard.
7. Debt collectors have contacted you after you’ve explained that you’re being represented by a lawyer. This is part of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you’re represented, have the collector talk to the lawyer.
8. You get the nagging feeling that a debt collector has lied to you about something. Though it’s not considered to be harassment, it is unethical and illegal for a debt collector to pose as anyone but themselves. So, if you got a strange phone call from a police officer telling you to pay your debt, you may also have a case.
Basically, collections agents are not allowed to behave unethically with you, and they have to stick to the guidelines that they are given. If you have been harassed, you may want to reach out to a debt lawyer. They may be able to make things stop, and you might end up getting a reward.