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Creditor Harassment Article

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Credit Harassment Can be Prevented

from: Mortgage & Debt Facts

Credit harassment involves getting repeated telephone calls, bills, past due notices, and house visits from bill collectors beyond the normal range. These can raise an individual's stress level to the point of not being able to handle their lives effectively—including the debt problem that had caused the credit harassment in the first place.

What many people do not realize is that Federal laws protect people from credit harassment, helping prevent unwanted contact from annoying bill collectors. Any legal contact by a debt collector can occur through mail, telephone, fax, or in-person. However, they cannot contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless the person in question has told them they can do so. If so, it would be considered credit harassment.

Bill collectors, through credit harassment, are not allowed to contact places of employment if the employer disapproves of such activities, and the job may become in jeopardy. The only person who can legally be notified about the debt owed is the individual involved and their attorney, so contacting work about a debt to be paid is illegal, unless going through proper legal channels.

Prohibited acts of credit harassment:
•  Harassment
➢  Debt collectors cannot use threats of harm or violence.
➢  Debt collectors cannot publish of list of individual non-paying consumers, other than directly to a credit bureau.
➢  Debt collectors cannot use profane language or obscenity against consumers.
➢  Debt collectors may not use the telephone repeatedly to annoy a non-paying consumer.
•  False statements
➢  Debt collectors cannot falsely imply they are lawyers or representatives of the government.
➢  Debt collectors cannot give the consumer the impression a crime has been committed by not being able to pay the bills.
➢  Debt collectors cannot give they are something they are not, such as a credit bureau.
➢  Debt collectors cannot give an amount different than what it exactly is.
➢  Debt collectors cannot tell you the bills you are receiving are legal forms by the government or court system if they are not.
➢  Debt collectors cannot tell you the papers you are receiving are not legal forms by the government or court system if they are.
•  Incorrect statements by debt collectors
➢  Debt collectors cannot tell you that you will be arrested because of unpaid bills.
➢  Debt collectors cannot tell you then can seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages without legal action.
➢  Debt collectors cannot file a lawsuit without proper legal action taken against you, especially if they do not intend to do so.
•  Unfair practices by debt collectors
➢  Debt collectors cannot contact you by postcard
➢  Debt collectors cannot take or threaten to take your property, unless it is done so legally.
➢  Debt collectors cannot use deception to make you accept collect call or pay for telegrams.
➢  Debt collectors cannot deposit a post-dated check prematurely.
➢  Debt collectors cannot collect an amount other than the debt amount, with full explanation and legal action.