Falling on tough times is normal for many Americans. Whether it’s due to job loss, medical debt or a family emergency, it can be easy to get behind on bills. Unfortunately, that’s usually when debt collectors start calling. Such calls can give consumers a bigger headache than they may already have.
Even though people have various protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, not every debt collector complies with the rules. In some cases, debtors may face abuse, threats or even unfair deception from some collectors. If this happens, it’s crucial to act quickly.
Why some collectors use aggressive tactics
Debt collectors often receive commission and know that they can get paid faster by using intimidation tactics. Since such practices are illegal, if debt collectors are found guilty of using these methods, they can face harsh penalties.
When enough is enough
Even if a consumer owes money, they still have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Depending on their circumstances, this is when a debt collector’s actions could land them in court:
- They’ve faced considerable abuse and harassment: The FDCPA says debt collectors are not allowed to use abusive tactics to obtain money. Such tactics can include using obscene or violent language or threating to publish consumer’s financial information. Debt collectors are also not allowed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.. Even if a debt collector calls at 7:59 a.m. or 9:01 p.m., they are technically breaking the law.
- They got lied to about how much they owe: If a collector overstates how much the debtor owes, this is also illegal. For instance, even if the collector made an honest mistake and is off by only a cent, the consumer may still have grounds for filing a lawsuit.
- The collector lied to them about who they were: In some instances, collectors may try to tell the debtor they’re someone they’re not. For example, a collector may try to say to a debtor they’re a police officer who will arrest them if they don’t pay their debt — even though people can’t get thrown in jail for unpaid debts. If a consumer faces this kind of harassment, they should write into the collection agency to cease further contact. If the collector then decides to sue, the debtor may still be able to win the case.
Debtors deserve fair treatment
Even if their payments are late, people deserve decency and respect during payment negotiations. Those who’ve fallen victim to the abusive behavior of debt collectors may want to speak with an attorney. They can help take their client’s case to court and get them the justice they deserve.