Most people, whether they reside in Texas or elsewhere, struggle financially at some point in their lives. Things happen, debt accrues and paying it off can seem impossible. Then it begins, creditor harassment. The constant phone calls, the threatening letters, it can all be too much to bear.
If you are a victim of creditor harassment, what can you do? What legal protections do you have?
Consumer protection laws
Believe it or not, consumer protection laws cover you. While creditors do have the right to attempt collections on any debts you owe, there are certain actions they are not permitted to take in order to do it.
What are creditors prohibited from doing?
In short, the law does not deem harassment and fraud to be acceptable collection practices. A few things the law forbids creditors from doing are:
- Make threats against your person, your home or, in certain circumstances, your wages
- Make threats of criminal charges
- Accuse you of fraud
- Use foul language when speaking to you
- Make frequent calls to your home or work at all hours of the day
- Try to collect more than you actually owe
If you believe that you are the victim of creditor harassment, you may report the issue. Authorities will investigate your case, and if they find the creditor to have engaged in illegal collection practices, the company may face fines, and the collectors involved may face criminal charges.
What are creditors allowed to do?
According to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, creditors may:
- Call your home between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M.
- Make frequent attempts to collect without making threats
- Send you texts, letters and emails in order to seek payment
To do any of this, debt collectors have to inform you of who they are and what debt they are attempting to collect.
How can I make it stop?
You have a couple of options. First, you can send a formal letter requesting that communications from debt collectors stop. Second, you may, if appropriate, file for a form of debt relief — such as bankruptcy — which will force creditors to stop their attempts to collect.
If you are a victim of creditor harassment, you may have the right to take legal action to stop it and even seek compensation for any distress it has caused you. An experienced attorney will be able to assist you in taking actions against overzealous creditors and help you pursue debt relief options that will benefit your financial situation.