Fair Debt Collection Practices in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act puts forth important limits for debt collectors and lenders to abide by when interacting with debtors. It’s important for you to know what constitutes inappropriate or illegal behavior in order to protect yourself from creditors who may have no problem invading your privacy, threatening you, or engaging in other harmful collection practices. According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, creditors and collectors must adhere to the following rules when attempting to collect payment for your debts:
- They may not communicate with you in inappropriate contexts.
- They may not communicate with you before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night.
- They may not contact you directly if they know an attorney is representing you.
- They may contact third parties in order to obtain information about your whereabouts. However, they may not disclose the fact that you owe any money or reveal anything else about you.
- They may not threaten you with any physical harm or violence or resort to verbal aggression, profanity, or obscenity in order to harass you.
- They may not make excessive phone calls in order to harass you and persistently disrupt your daily life.
- They may not disclose or publish to any party besides a credit bureau that you have an unpaid debt, even if you have openly refused to pay that debt.
- They may not use deceptive, manipulative, or morally reprehensible tactics in order to stimulate debt repayment. (Common examples of this include pretending to be attorneys, providing misleading information about the status of your debt, threatening to bring a lawsuit against you, dishonestly implying that you have committed a crime by not yet paying your debts, and so forth.)
The Fair Debt collection Practices Act (FDCPA) also provides protection for debtors. Some of the most important rules it puts in place are about phone communication. Because phone calls tend to be one of the preferred methods of collection, they can also become a source of harassment and be harmful to you. A credit or collector may be violating federal law if they do any of the following over the phone:
- Threaten you with arrest, physical harm, lawsuits, wage garnishment, etc.
- Call you at work or at odd or inappropriate hours
- Use aggressive, loud, and/or obscene language
- Contact your family and neighbors in attempts to get a hold of you or gather information about you
What to Do if a Creditor or Debt Collector is Harassing You
If you are being harassed, abused, or otherwise seriously harmed by the unconscionable practices of a creditor or collector, you have a few options. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may be able to do one of the following:
- Bring a lawsuit against the collector in a Pennsylvania state court.
- Report the inappropriate behavior to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission.
- Use the incidence(s) of abuse to your advantage in a suit against the collector or creditor.
Speak to a Debt Collection Abuse Lawyer in Harrisburg Today
If dishonest, aggressive, or otherwise inappropriate debt collection practices are interfering with your life, time is of the essence. With a group of knowledgeable debt collection abuse attorneys in your corner, you don’t have to tolerate your lender’s injurious misbehavior any longer. Let us help by calling Dethlefts, Pykosh & Murphy Law today.