A recent study analyzed credit bureau data and found the average American is over $90K in debt. The age bracket with the highest debt load is between ages 40-55, with an average debt of $136K per person. Juggling debt through early adulthood is an American rite-of-passage, though we never get any real education to prepare us for it.
It’s not surprising that many folks, at one point or another, fall behind. Life happens: accidents, illness, divorce, or losing a job; most of us experience at least one of these life-changing events. They wreak havoc on our stability and well-being. These times are stressful enough without getting harassed by debt collectors.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect consumers from abusive or deceptive actions from debt collectors. It outlines several debt-collection practices that are forbidden by federal law. They include:
- Calling after 9 pm or before 8 am
- Calling anonymously or failing to identify themselves
- Calling at work
- Contacting your friends and family
- Threatening legal action or public embarrassment
- Using profane or threatening language
- Ignoring your request to cease-and-desist
While the FDCPA outlines these specifics, their list of what qualifies for “harassment” is not exhaustive. Some ambiguity remains. Are hang-ups harassment? How many calls are too many? What constitutes a “threat”? Ultimately, a judge decides what crosses the line and if the debt collector is in violation of the FDCPA. When the court finds that the debt collector’s actions violate the law, damages can amount to $1000 per call plus legal expenses.
Presenting a case that the judge will ultimately agree with is best handled by a skilled attorney. When you contact one, be prepared to provide them with a call log that includes the following information:
- The date and time of the call
- The name of the person calling
- The specific details of the phone conversation
In addition to the call log, an attorney will want to know the nature and history of the debt and any actions you may have already taken. A successful case will require a series of steps in a specific order, which an experienced consumer protection attorney will know how to navigate and execute in a timely manner.
Debt collectors are, by their very nature, persistent. Some are downright aggressive. Many are not intimidated by a civilian claiming they will take legal action. Getting a lawyer involved changes things.
The staff at The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman specializes in helping clients put a stop to harassment from debt collectors. Our experienced team of lawyers knows how to handle debt collectors who operate outside of the law. Contact us to stop the harassment today.