Three Decades of Experience Helping with Creditor Harassment
Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Tacoma and Pierce County
Stop Creditor Abuse by Filing for Bankruptcy
When a consumer falls behind on their payments, they will start receiving letters from their creditor requesting repayment of the defaulted amount. When these letters fail to recover the default from the consumer, the creditor may begin calling the consumer.
The next step would be to hire a collection agency to continue contacting the consumer repeatedly until the debt is finally collected. These actions must comply with certain consumer laws, however, and cannot violate the consumer’s rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Know Your Consumer Rights
The FDCPA restricts collection agents from harassing consumers in several ways. Collection agents may not call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., or anytime that is established as inconvenient or inappropriate for the consumer. Agents are also restricted from contacting a consumer at their workplace when it is considered inappropriate or is not allowed by the consumer’s employer.
The FDCPA prohibits any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt, including:
- The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
- The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
- The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts.
- The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
- Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
- The placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
The FDCPA applies only to bill collectors who work for collection agencies, not the original creditors. You will not be able to get the collection department in your credit card company to stop calling you with a letter.
If the creditor tries to do any of the following things to try and get you to pay back the money you owe, this could be considered harassment. They include:
- contacting you several times a day, or early in the morning or late at night
- pursuing you on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook
- putting pressure on you to sell your home or take out more credit
- using more than one debt collector at a time to chase you for payment
- not telling you if the debt has been passed on to a debt collection agency
- using paperwork or business logos that appear to be official when they’re not, for example sending you letters that look like court forms
- putting pressure on you to pay all the money off, or in larger instalments when you can’t afford to
- threatening you physically or verbally
- ignoring you if you say you don’t owe the money
- trying to embarrass you in public
- telling someone else about your debts or using another person to pass on messages, such as a neighbour or family member
- falsely claiming to work for the court or be a bailiff
- implying that legal action can be taken when it can’t. For example, implying that your home can be taken from you without a court order
- giving the impression that court action has been taken against you when it hasn’t
- giving the impression that not paying the debt is a criminal offence. For most debts, it is not a criminal offence if you don’t pay them.
- In some cases, debt can be caused by identity theft. Victims may be surprised to discover that they owe money for something they did not purchase. Recovering stolen money and correcting any additional damage caused by identity theft, such as a damaged credit score or a tarnished reputation, can be a difficult task to undertake on your own.
- As identity theft becomes more common, determining the identity of the thief has become a challenge for police, often leaving victims without legal recourse against the thieves themselves. It is important to contact a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney to discuss options that may be available to you if the police cannot be of assistance.
Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney to Stop Creditor Harassment
One way to stop creditor harassment is to retain a Tacoma bankruptcy lawyer. Washington Fresh Start can represent you against creditor harassment. You can stop creditor harassment by filing for bankruptcy, which puts an automatic stay on all contact between your creditor and you. We provide our clients with personal attention and can answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Fill out our free case evaluation to get started. Contact us right away to learn more about what Washington Fresh Start can do for you!