If you owe money to a creditor and are behind on your payments, it is likely that a debt collector will be contacting you. While it is perfectly legal for third-party collection agencies like ERC to attempt to contact you in regards to your debt, there are laws in place meant to protect consumers from harassment.
What is Considered Harassment?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines a set of regulations that debt collection agencies should follow in order to prevent harassment. Under this act, there are several restrictions for how and when these agencies should contact you including:
- Not contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Not contacting you at work if you have requested this in writing.
- Not harassing the debtor in any form including threats of harm, using obscene language, or repeated contact by phone in an effort to annoy the debtor.
- Not making false statements or misleading the debtor about their identity or the debt.
Debt collectors should always notify you of their identity when you receive a call, and they are required to provide you with verification of the debt if requested. If you would like to find out more about the regulations outlined in the FDCPA, visit the opens in a new windowFederal Trade Commission website.
Putting an End to Harassment
If you believe you have experienced a violation of any of the regulations listed above, there a few steps you can take to end harassment from a debt collector. First, you should contact the collection agency directly and ask them to stop contacting you. At ERC, we try to make this process as easy as possible by providing an online contact form with which you can make a complaint or request to be have your number removed from our sytem.
If contacting the agency directly did not provide any results, your next step is to file a complaint with the opens in a new windowBetter Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General or the opens in a new windowCFPB. The last two are government organizations that can enforce the laws outlined in the FDCPA and will assist you in dealing with debt collectors that have stepped out of line.
Finally, in extreme cases there is the option to take legal action, but this should be a last resort. Dealing with any kind of lawsuit is time consuming, stressful, complicated and may end up costing your money.