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Harassment And Abuse By A Debt Collector

We all do our best to meet our financial obligations, but sometimes an unpaid bill may slip through the cracks. Such an oversight or inability to pay can cause you to be contacted by a debt collector. What you may not know is that you have certain rights when it comes to being contacted by a collector. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from harassment and abuse at the hands of a collector. This law limits how, when, and in what manner they can communicate with you about your debt. Let’s take a closer look at harassment and abuse by a debt collector and which remedies are available to you if they have violated your rights under the FDCPA.

Debt Collector Defined

It is important to understand that not every person who contacts you about a debt is considered a debt collector by the FDCPA. The law says that only people who are attempting to collect a debt for another person are considered debt collectors. If the person seeking payment from you does not fall within this definition, then the FDCPA may not protect you against their harassment. For example, a collection agency attempting to collect payment on an unpaid medical bill would qualify as a debt collector under the FDCPA. Additionally, any person or company that has purchased the debt of another, and that is now attempting to collect payment, may also count as a debt collector. However, for purposes of the FDCPA, the original creditor is not considered a debt collector. What this means is that your auto loan lender contacting you about a missed payment may not count as a collector under the FDCPA.

What Is Harassment And Abuse By A Debt Collector?

There are a number of different types of conduct by a debt collector that may be considered harassment or abuse by the FDCPA. Put simply, anything that a collector does that has the natural effect of causing harassment, oppression, or abuse is prohibited by the law. What this means is that a collector cannot:

  • Use or threaten to use violence or any other criminal act to harm your reputation, property, or physical well-being.
  • Use obscene of profane language. This may include cursing or using vulgar language which has the effect of causing abuse.
  • Print your name among a list of people who allegedly refuse to pay their debts. This does not include reporting you to the credit agencies.
  • Advertise for the sale of your debt in order to bully you into paying your debt.
  • Cause your phone to ring repeatedly, or engage you or any person in conversation continually for the purpose of being annoying, abusive or harassing.
  • Call you without disclosing their identity as a debt collector.
  • Call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. in your time zone.

If a debt collector engages in any of the conduct listed above, they may have violated the law. If you can show that the law has been violated, then you may be entitled to damages. However, to obtain compensation, you’ll have to bring a lawsuit and prove that they violated the law. While it is possible to do this without a lawyer, it may be difficult and costly. The law recognizes this burden and allows for the payment of your lawyer’s fees to be made by the collector. As a result, many consumer protection attorneys may agree to represent you on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not have to pay a dime upfront to have your case filed.

Retaining A Consumer Rights Lawyer In New York

If you have endured harassment and abuse by a debt collector, then you can sue them to obtain compensation. However, this often necessitates the involvement of an experienced consumer rights lawyer to make sure things go right. The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg is dedicated to defending the rights of consumers. We will advocate for you and seek all available remedies against those bad debt collectors who have caused you harm. For a free consultation, touch base with The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg by calling (888) 301-0584 or by contacting us online.