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Hey Creditors: Stop Harassing Me!

Sep 10, 2008
Do individuals have rights when they are being harassed by creditors?

Unfortunately, because many people are made to feel guilty when they owe money, they think that a creditor has the legal right to hound them until they pay their bills. Fortunately, however, Congress has passed a number of federal laws, most important of them being the FDCPA (Fair Debt Credit Protection Act) which hold that regardless of the status of your delinquency, the amount of money you owe, or how overdue it may be, you do have certain rights. Primary among them is the right to not be harassed by a creditor.

Some illegal tactics creditors commonly use include: threatening to continue calling you until the debt is paid; talking to your employer or other persons about your debt; attaching your wages when they have not been granted the legal right to do so; pretending to be an attorney or other legal representative; and other tactics which are violations of your legal rights and a violation of the Fair Debt Credit Protection Act.

A qualified attorney who is familiar with the FDCPA should be able to provide you with all of the information you need so you will know where you stand with your debt and how to fairly and honestly resolve it.

Your attorney can also help you to gain damages against a creditor who has been harassing you. Oftentimes, their first step will be to let the creditors know that they can no longer communicate with you - indeed, they will likely also advise you that you you are not even required to communicate with the creditor. This is often a huge relief for debtors, who can relax and allow an attorney to do the communicating for them. If you let your creditors know that you are represented by an attorney and they must contact your attorney, not you, if they continue to contact you they will be held in violation of the FDCPA.

As many collection agencies operate by attempting to scare or intimidate a person who owes money, you need to know that you are not required to enter into any agreements or discuss your financial situation with a collection agency representative who calls you on the telephone. These agreements are often unfair and place a debtor in a sever disadvantage, but many are too tired of receiving harassing phone calls, or to scared after they have been harassed for so long, and go ahead and sign these agreements anyway.

If you are being harassed by a creditor, it will be very helpful for you to secure legal advise from an attorney. You should also have the specifics of your debt validated in writing. Whether you are aware of and acknowledge the specifics of your debt, or whether you are not as fully informed as you should be, it is essential for you to know where you stand and be willing to resolve your debt.

It is truly remarkable to see the difference in someone's outlook when they find out that there is a way out! Some creditor agencies are so harsh on people, and make them feel so bad for not being able to pay their debt, that it places an incredible burden on them. When these individuals become more knowledgeable about the FDCPA and how they can protect their rights, the burden is lifted, and although they may still have to pay off their debt, they can do so on fair terms without fear of reprisal.
About the Author
Brad Jefferson lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has consulted numerous people on the Fair Debt Credit Protection Act. He consults with the Atlanta Lawyers at Persily & Associates.
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