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Stop Debt Harassment

Posted in Consumer rights on July 13, 2018

Debt collectors cannot harass you. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what debt collectors can and cannot do.

Many debt collectors will try to convince you to pay their debt first. Creditors and collectors both know that the main reasons people cannot pay their bills are because of job loss, illness, divorce, or other unexpected life events. Do not let collectors pressure you into paying their debt first. Think about your situation and make the best decision for you.

What Collectors Can Legally Do

If you stop making payments on an unsecured debt (not a tax debt or student loan), collectors can legally do the following in an effort to collect their debt:

  • Refuse to conduct business with you. If one merchant refuses your business, you can usually find another who will still conduct business with you on a cash or credit basis.
  • Report your debt to a credit bureau. Most creditors report the status of all their accounts monthly to a credit bureau. When this happens, your credit record is most likely already damaged some.
  • Contact you about payment. Creditors will attempt to contact you to take care of overdue payments. This is permitted; however, they cannot legally contact relatives, friends, or employers about debts you may have.
  • File a lawsuit. It’s hard to determine when or if a creditor will sue on a past-due bill, but when they do sue, you have the right to respond and raise defense. Failing to respond or show up in court may result in a win by default to the creditor.

Ways to Stop Debt Collection Harassment

Send a “cease” letter. This is the easiest way to stop harassment. Even though you send this letter, you still owe the debt. When you send out this letter, make sure you keep a copy of it and document when you mailed it. If the collector continues to contact you, send them another letter. If the harassment continues, you should contact an attorney.

Stop the phone calls by clearly stating that you no longer wish to be contacted at your number. Collection agencies and creditors are required to stop calling you with an autodialer if you ask them to do so.

Hold off on paying a collector until you’ve verified the debt. Federal law gives you the right to receive a letter of verification of a debt from a third-party collector. Be cautious if collectors try to work out a payment plan on your behalf. This could cause you to be delinquent on more important bills like rent and ultimately cost you more in the end.

If You’ve Experienced Credit Harassment

Be sure to keep track of all out-of-pocket losses and discuss these with your attorney. Keep a log of all collection contacts with as much information as possible. Do not delete abusive voicemails from collectors. If you and your family has experienced credit harassment, you should contact one of our attorneys today.

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