Debt collectors or collection agencies are limited in their activities by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Despite the mandates of this law however, some bill collectors continue to engage in illegal practices, like calling incessantly. If the calls you’re receiving from third-party debt collectors have gotten out of hand, then odds are your rights under the FDCPA are being violated, and you must take additional steps to stop debt collection abuse or harassment.
The Affects of Repeated Debt Collection Calls from Debt Collectors
If you cringe every time the phone rings, then debt collectors are having their desired impact on your overall wellbeing and mental health. Their goal is to cause you such significant stress that you cave and agree to payment arrangements or debt settlements that are not practical for you, let alone in your best interest.
The emotional and mental stress of incessant, abusive, or harassing debt collection calls can carry over into every part of your life. Sleep, work, and family life all typically suffer as a result, and aggressive collection calls take a toll on every member of your household as well.
Methods for Stopping Debt Collector Harassment
Stopping harassing phone calls from debts collectors can feel overwhelming, especially when your stress level has already reached profound heights. The first step is to know your rights and specifically to understand that you do not have to put up with harassment.
You can stop answering the phone, or hang up on callers that mistreat you or speak to you disrespectfully. You can also put the phone down without hanging up, and simply walk away. These methods may relieve some of your stress but they will not resolve the problem. For that, you must take additional steps.
You can start by sending a formal notice to the debt collector in question, notifying them that:
- Under the FDCPA, the debt collection practices they are employing are illegal,
- If they fail to cease these illegal practices, you will report their actions to the Federal Trade Commission and to the office of your state’s Attorney General.
In many cases, a communication like this will not deter collection agencies that thumb their noses at the FDCPA in the first place. The collection calls could just continue and might even get worse. If so, you must consider next steps, which may include seeking legal help to force the issue.
Sometimes, hiring a lawyer is all that’s necessary. A single notice from your attorney can be enough to stop the phone calls. Your attorney’s communications could perhaps even cause the debt collector to be more reasonable in their overall collection efforts, including accepting more manageable payments or allowing you additional time to resolve the debt.
Even if your attorney’s harsh reminder of FDCPA regulations does not resolve the issue, you’re armed with the assistance necessary to take further action. This may include filing formal complaints or commencing a lawsuit against the collection agency or third-party debt collector.