Many people who file for bankruptcy are concerned about creditors harassing them or calling at all hours seeking payment. However, you have legal protections from this kind of behavior. Federal debt collection laws regulate what creditors can say and how often they can contact you. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, our firm can help. Depending on the situation, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the debt collection agency and pursue statutory damages (up to $1,000), actual damages, and attorney fees and court costs.
What You Need to Know About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that prohibits debt collector companies from harassing debtors. Specifically, the FDCPA regulates how often and when a debt collector may contact you. The FDCPA applies to medical debts, credit card debts, mortgages, and other debts related to personal, household, and family matters. It does not cover business debts.
Under the FDCPA, debt collector agencies may not:
- Contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Contact you at unusual times or places
- Contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as at your work
Furthermore, debt collectors may not harass you, your family, or anyone else through phone, email, in-person, and other methods. Debt collection companies may not threaten you or use abusive or deceptive practices to collect debts. If you are contacted from a debt collection agency, you have the right to know the name of the creditor, the amount owed, that you can request the address and name of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor), and that you have the ability to dispute the debt. If this information is not provided in your initial contact with the debt collection agency, they only have 5 days to send you a written notice with this information.
If you obtain a lawyer, the debt collection agency must contact him or her instead of you. You have the right to tell the debt collector to stop contacting you by sending a written request. Make sure to keep a copy of your letter for your own records. If the company keeps contacting you about your debt, you may seek relief by filing a lawsuit or reporting it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal agency designed to protect you from unfair treatment by lenders, banks, and other financial companies.
Being Harassed by a Creditor? Our Harrisburg Bankruptcy Attorneys Are Here to Help.
Dethlefs Pykosh & Murphy provides diligent representation to clients facing creditor harassment and bankruptcy. If you are being harassed, threatened, or unfairly treated by a debt collector, you have the right to seek relief. Our Harrisburg bankruptcy lawyers will analyze your situation and use tailored legal strategies to defend your rights. We will work hard to guide you through the legal process.
For personal assistance and aggressive representation, call our firm today at (717) 559-0271.