Steps to take when debt collection becomes harassment

Debt repayment delays are normal and sometimes, creditors may take initiative and remind you to pay from time to time. However, there’s a threshold beyond which a debt collection call can become harassment.

Understanding how debt collection harassment happens is crucial so that you can recognize the signs and take appropriate steps to protect yourself. These signs include:

  • Excessive calls, emails or letters.
  • Threats or abusive language.
  • Contacting you at unreasonable hours.
  • Contacting your family, friends or employer.
  • Misrepresenting the debt amount or legal authority.
  • Ignoring your requests to stop communication.
  • Attempting to collect a debt that isn’t yours.
  • Failing to provide written notice of your rights.
  • Illegal confiscation of property.

You can sue for debt collection harassment if the creditor or collection agency violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or other consumer protection laws. This can result in compensation for damages, including emotional distress as well as potential legal fees.

What to do when harassed by debt collectors

If you identify signs of debt collection harassment, you can take the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Document all instances of harassment, including dates, times and details of communication.
  • Send a certified letter to the creditor or collection agency requesting that they cease all communication with you.
  • Dispute the debt in writing if you believe it is inaccurate or not yours.
  • Familiarize yourself with your rights under the FDCPA and other relevant laws.
  • Consider filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or the Minnesota attorney general office.
  • If necessary, pursue legal action against the debt collector for violations of consumer protection laws.
  • Seek support from consumer advocacy organizations or credit counseling services for guidance and assistance.

It is important to consider seeking legal guidance to better understand your rights and options for addressing debt collection harassment, as well as to help ensure that any actions you take are in accordance with the law and tailored to your specific situation.

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