If you fall behind on paying your bills, creditors will understandably try to contact you so you can pay. However, if the phone calls and mailed letters become excessive, then the creditors’ actions may border actual harassment.
If you sense that the contact evolved into harassing behavior, do not worry as the purpose of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is to regulate how these collection agents may contact you and to prevent harassment.
Collections agents cannot call all day.
Collections agents should not call you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. unless they already have your permission. If creditors keep calling during these restricted hours, even after you tried to get them to stop, you should consider getting legal help.
Agents cannot contact you after you file for bankruptcy.
After filing for bankruptcy, you will receive an automatic stay. This means that collection agencies, creditors and government entities are temporarily barred from pursuing you for the debt you owe. During this period, creditors cannot continue calling or sending letters.
Creditors cannot make threats.
When talking to you or leaving a voicemail, collection agents may not use foul language or insult you. They also cannot dial your phone number just to hang up as this is an intimidation tactic.
Know that if you receive threats to your safety or confidentiality from a collections agent who claims to put your safety or personal information on the line, he or she violated the FDCPA.
Overall, remember that you are not powerless in stopping creditor harassment as you have the option to report illegal behavior to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the state attorney general or the Federal Trade Commission.