If a debt collector has verbally abused or mocked you during phone communications, then they are breaking a federal law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law protects consumers from unlawful, harassing, and unethical debt collection activities, including abusive and profane language.
Permitted and Prohibited Communications
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot use any language that is profane, threatening, mocking, or otherwise abusive. They cannot harass you verbally or in written forms and must keep all communications respectful and businesslike.
Any use of abusive language, threatening statements, or disrespectful communications can be considered harassment under the FDCPA and is therefore illegal. Debt collectors that break FDCPA regulations can be investigated, fined, and even barred from doing business, but they must be reported and held accountable for their actions in order for this to occur.
The FDCPA mandates debt collectors cannot use language in verbal and written communications that is intended to harass. Even if the language itself is not abusive or profane, if the affect the language has or outcome it implies is harassing, belittling, or threatening, then the debt collector is still in violation of federal law and is subject to review and punitive action.
The Effects of Debt Collector Tactics and Consumer Protections
Harassment from debt collectors quickly weighs on consumers. It can affect their personal and professional lives, impacting their family, social relationships, and job performance, among many other things. These affects build with time and some consumers experience severe stress and anxiety-related illnesses.
The consumer protections guaranteed by the FDCPA are intended to alleviate these unfair and unrelenting stressors from consumer lives. This federal law and its enforceable statutes give consumers legal recourse for holding debt collectors accountable for mistreatment, harassment, disrespect, and abuse.
Legal Assistance to Fight Abuse and Harassment from Debt Collectors
Dealing with a debt collector that uses abuse and harassment in their communications is simply not practical for consumers. These collectors have no respect for your rights. Reasoning with them is likely out of the question, but don’t think that you simply have to put up with their illegal tactics. You can report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to the State Attorney General.
You can also seek legal help in stopping the harassment and forcing the debt collector to be accountable for their unlawful and immoral behaviors. An attorney can file lawsuits in state and federal courts on your behalf and can ensure that the debt collector’s abusive treatment ends, not only for you but for other consumers as well.