Are your creditors allowed to harass you?
Life can be tough when you owe several creditors. Not only do you have to deal with paying your basic monthly bills, which alone can be difficult, but you are also trying to handle the stacks of letters and phone calls coming in from debt collectors. You and other Tennessee residents who are having financial difficulties might be bothered to the point of harassment by creditors. It is important to understand that some common creditor tactics are against the law.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, debt collection practices that are unfair, deceptive or abusive violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law protects you and other debtors from harassment or misleading information from creditors, thereby putting yourself into even further financial and emotional stress. Debt collectors are aware of the law, but unfortunately, some know that not all consumers understand their rights, so creditor abuse is a regular occurrence. Practices that violate the FDCPA may include the following:
- Telling you that the company will have you arrested if you do not repay your debt
- Sending collection letters falsely claiming to be a lawyer, law enforcement officer or government representative
- Calling you at all hours of the day or night or at times when you requested that they not call you
- Continuing to call you at work after you specified your place of employment does not allow phone calls
- Using threatening, intimidating or foul language on the phone
- Threatening to use physical violence
Additionally, collectors must not discuss your debt with anyone other than you or your attorney. They may call your relatives only once to attempt to get your contact information, but they may not discuss the matter with them. If you request that your creditors stop calling you or speak only with your attorney from now on, the law requires them to comply.
You may report abusive creditor tactics to the FTC. It may also be beneficial to speak with an attorney if you are dealing with insurmountable debt.