A survey released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) claims most consumers feel threatened by debt collectors. According to the CFPB director, debt collection harassment generates more complaints than any other consumer issue. In the survey, the CFPB asked consumers to specify what their complaints were against collectors.
The results are unsettling because they suggest collection agencies are ignoring the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
- One in four consumers reported feeling threatened by collection agencies.
- Three in four claim requests to cease contact were ignored.
- Thirty-six percent of survey respondents claim they were contacted between 9 pm and 8 am.
- Fifty-three percent claim they were contacted over debts that did not belong to them, or for the wrong amount of debt.
- Another 40 percent claim they were repeatedly called by the same debt collector.
How Can You Fight Back Against Debt Collection Harassment?
You have rights under the FDCPA that protect you against debt collector abuse. Collection agencies cannot harass or threaten you with violence or abrasive language. They must be honest about the amount of debt owed, and cannot misrepresent themselves. Debt collectors cannot call you between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am. Finally, collectors are forbidden from calling you once you have asked them to cease contact.
However, if you are overwhelmed with past-due bills and debts, you gain several advantages by hiring a bankruptcy attorney. Not only can they help you discover options for discharging or reducing debts, they can help you handle debt collector harassment. Once you tell a collector that you have retained legal counsel, all future contact must go through your attorney. Not only will the automatic stay in bankruptcy stop the harassment, your bankruptcy attorney can make claims against these debt collectors for possible statutory damages if the harassment continues.
The Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm can help people find solutions for managing excessive debts.