When suffering from debt, you already have enough hardship to deal with. You do not need the extra stress of debt collectors harassing you day in and out. While laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) theoretically halt this behavior, the laws do not stop everyone.
The first thing you can do is determine whether you are actually facing harassing behavior or not. After identifying that, you can work to defend yourself.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looks into illegal behaviors that debt collectors might still do. The FDCPA bans both misrepresentation on behalf of debt collectors, as well as harassment. The actions that fall under each category differ from each other. For example, forms of misrepresentation include:
- Pretending to be an attorney
- Making false threats to have you arrested
- Lying about the amount of money you owe
- Making threats they have no ability or desire to carry out
Meanwhile, harassment covers a wider range of behaviors and activities. Harassment may include a debt collector cursing you out or using profane language in your presence. It may also include calling you repeatedly without identifying themselves. In fact, repeated phone calls remain one of the most common harassment complaints that people file against debt collectors. It is also harassment if they call at odd hours.
Public shaming tactics can fall under this category, too. For example, debt collectors can share information about debtors between each other. But they cannot publish your information on a public record of people who owe debts.
If you think you have suffered from debt collector harassment lately, consider contacting a legal professional. They can help you decide what to do next.