At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman, we specialize in matters related to consumer protection. Many of our clients have questions related to fair debt collection practices and what to do about unwanted calls from bill and debt collectors. We’ve gathered five of the most frequently asked questions here along with succinct answers and resources for each.
What qualifies as phone harassment?
According to the Federal Communications Act (FCA), telephone harassment is when a person knowingly uses a telephone to make, create, or solicit a communication with intent to harass, abuse, or threaten another.
To clarify further, the FCA provides examples. For example, if a caller causes the phone to ring continuously or makes a call without identifying themselves or calls solely with the intent to harass you. If you’ve asked yourself to be placed on a Do Not Call list, and you still receive calls, you may have a case for phone harassment.
Consumers are further protected by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts telemarketing calls and Robo dialing systems. The TCPA requires telecommunications solicitors to implement company-specific Do Not Call lists and to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling them, among other restrictions.
How often can a bill collector call you?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) sets guidelines for when and under what circumstances bill collectors can call. For example, collectors can’t call during the early morning or late night hours, and they can’t call you at work. They can’t call you continuously, as mentioned above, and they can’t call you at all if you tell them not to. If you send a cease and desist letter via certified mail, a debt collector may only contact you once more upon receipt, to tell you what plan of action they plan to take if any.
How do I stop receiving unwanted calls?
The first step is to register your home and mobile phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can do that at the FTC website here.
How long does a number stay on the Do Not Call list?
Once your Do Not Call registration takes effect, it never expires. The only way your numbers come off the Do Not Call list is if you take them off. If someone calls telling you that your Do Not Call registration has expired, it’s a scam. Hang up immediately.
What if I’ve signed up with the Do Not Call Registry and I’m still receiving unwanted calls?
Because scammers do not necessarily respect the Do Not Call registry, blocking unwanted calls is the best way to limit them. Some phones and service providers offer built-in call blocking features. You may also choose to download a call-blocking app on your mobile phone to filter illegal scam calls.
While it can be difficult to eliminate all of the robocalls and spoof calls using the internet to infringe on your privacy, you can take measures to minimize the harm caused by harassing solicitors. Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, and if you do, never hit buttons or answer questions. Instead, hang up as soon as you realize the call is from an unwanted source.
If you’re concerned about bill collectors making harassing phone calls, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman for more information about telephone consumer protection, fair debt collection practices, fair credit reporting, and bankruptcy and debt settlement.