The stress of debt often keeps individuals in a constant state of anxiety, especially when they fear debt collectors will continue to contact them about the debts they owe. While debt collection is a common factor when individuals or families in New Jersey are behind on their credit card bills and other bills, it is important to understand when creditors overstep their bounds. With regards to the practices of creditors to collect debts, what constitutes creditor harassment?
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was passed to prevent unfair, deceptive and abusive practices carried out by debt collectors. While a debt collector is authorized to seek payment of credit cards, auto loans, medical bills and mortgages, they are not authorized to contact a debtor whenever and wherever they want to collect these debts. If they contact a debtor at inconvenient times and place, these could fall under the category of creditor harassment.
Rules for Debt Collectors to Follow:
In most cases, a debt collector cannot call before eight in the morning and after nine at night, and they may not contact the debtor at work if they are informed not to do so orally or in writing. A debt collector may not use any abusive, oppressive or harassing techniques to get a debtor to pay. This includes threats of violence, stating they will publish their name if they don't pay, using profane language, using the phone repeatedly to annoy the debtor or making any false claims or statements to get the debtor to take action.
One way to stop the harassing behaviors of a debt collector is by sending a letter to the collector, informing them to stop contacting you. Doing so will only stop the contact but will not erase the debt. If the financial situation is getting too much to handle for the individual, they might consider debt relief options. Filing for bankruptcy could help alleviate their debt problems and could also help stop debt collectors from contacting them.
A Debt Lawyer Can Help You Learn Your Options
Although receiving calls from debt collectors commonly occurs when an individual is behind on payments, there are options available to stop these calls and harassing treatment of creditors. In addition to stopping these calls, debtors should also understand their options regarding their debts and how they could properly address them.
To get help, contact a New Jersey debt lawyer today.
Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Debt Collection"