These types of phone calls are not allowed. So how do you stop them? The rules for creditors are different from those for telemarketers, but neither one is allowed to call you late at night. Separate sets of laws forbid solicitors and debt collectors from calling before 8 AM and after 9 PM. Unless you have given them permission, late-night calls and repetitive calling are types of harassment that may entitle you to damages of $1000 or more per call.
Handling telemarketing calls is straightforward. Make sure your number is listed on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and take action after 31 days. A lawyer versed in consumer protection law can assist you with fighting back against legitimate businesses that ignore the list. Payouts and settlements can get large.
For creditors, the path to stopping them depends on whether it is the original creditor or a collection agency collecting the debt. For collection agencies that are separate entities from the original debt holder, methods are regulated by federal law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) outlines practices that can be labeled as harassment, abusive, or deceptive. Calling after 9 pm is explicitly stated as illegal, as is using the phone to annoy you.
If the caller is the original creditor, it’s a little trickier. A 2017 US Supreme Court ruling decided creditors are not bound by the FDCPA; only collection agencies are. In 2018 the court extended the same protections to collection agencies that purchased and now own the debt. The thing is, even if the caller isn’t bound by the FDCPA, they still can’t blow up your phone all hours of the night. An attorney will know how to navigate these nuances, find the appropriate legal pathway, and argue your case effectively.
Send a “Cease-and-Desist” letter.
Part of your response to the late night calls should be formally telling them to stop. Sending a Cease-and-Desist letter is the most appropriate and effective way to do it. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau provides templates for several different Cease-and-Desist letters directed at debt collectors. Your Cease-and-Desist letter can instruct them not to contact you at all, to only call during certain times, or to only contact you through your attorney. Send the letter by certified mail and keep a copy for yourself.
Put an end to intrusive late night calls by being proactive.
Stopping late night calls will require some action on your part. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with continuing nighttime invasions. There is a great deal of grey area surrounding what constitutes “illegal” in the phone-solicitation world. Late night calls are not one of these murky areas; it is clearly forbidden.
Don’t wait another night. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman to help you stop the calls today.