When Collection Becomes Harassment
Bill collector harassment is an excessive quantity of or overly aggressive pressure from a creditor or debt collector to pay a debt. It may involve threats of violence, threats to embarrass the debtor, false information, excessive number of telephone calls or home visits or general nastiness. It can even involve contacting employers, neighbors or family. Third-party bill collectors cannot harass, oppress or abuse any person. They also can’t use unfair practices or make false statements. Unlawful acts by debt collectors include:
• Falsely implying that he or she is an attorney or government representative.
• Falsely implying that you have committed a crime.
• Indicating that correspondence they send you is from an attorney when it is not.
• Implying that nonpayment of any debt will result in loss of personal property, wages, or that you will be arrested unless (a) it is lawful and (b) the creditor intends to follow through with such action.
• Threatening to take action that is not legal or that the creditor does not intend to take.
• Implying that the transfer of interest in the debt to someone else will result in loss of personal property or wages, or that you will be arrested.
• Falsely representing that you committed a crime in an effort to disgrace you.
• Misrepresenting your credit or failing to communicate that you are disputing a debt.
• Using written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued or approved by any court, official or agency of the U.S. or any state, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
• Contacting you by post card.
• Using any false or deceptive means to attempt to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer.
• Failing to disclose clearly in all communication that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose.
• Falsely implying that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers.
• Falsely implying that documents are part of the legal process when they aren’t.
• Falsely stating that papers being sent to you are not legal process forms when they aren’t
Whether or not you are currently in bankruptcy in Arizona – Mesa, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors observe restrictions and treat you fairly. This law prohibits certain methods of debt collection. Personal, family and household debts are all covered under the FDCPA. This includes auto loans, medical care bills and charge accounts. However, business loans are not covered by this law. Paying bills on time is generally the best way to avoid third-party bill collector harassment. However, sometimes you encounter unavoidable situations that impact your ability to pay in a timely fashion.
Here is a link to the federal government’s site that will show you all of the FDCPA laws. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf