What Can I Do to Stop Bill Collector's Harassing Phone Calls?

30 Jun What Can I Do to Stop Bill Collector's Harassing Phone Calls?

You don’t have to put up with harassing phone calls from bill collectors.  In 2008 alone, over 78,000 consumers filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) sets restrictions on how creditors can attempt to collect debts.  The Federal Trade Commission enforces the FDCPA, and has stated that debt collectors cannot:      A full list of prohibited conduct and other useful information can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at:

·         Call at inconvenient times, for example, prior to 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

·         Use threats of violence or harm

·         Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts

·         Use obscene or profane language, or repeatedly use the telephone to annoy

·         Use any false or misleading statements, such as imply that they are attorneys or government representatives; imply that you committed a crime; or say you will be arrested for non-payment of a debt

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm

You can sue offending creditors in State or Federal court and get statutory damages of $1000 plus any specific damages you incurred as a result of their inappropriate conduct.  Even if you don’t file a lawsuit, you can send the debt collector a letter stating that you are invoking the protection of the FDCPA and that you wish to be contacted by mail only.

The FDCPA is not necessarily the only law that protects the consumer from debt collector harassment.  Many states have their own version of the FDCPA.  Contact your local State Attorney General’s Office to find out if your State has its own version of the FDCPA.

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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