When you’re in debt, understanding what your rights as a consumer are is essential. For example, those in debt likely don’t know that they are protected by laws that dictate how they can be treated and pursued when they owe money. If you are suffering from debt collection abuse, you may not know how to proceed. Keep reading to learn more about this unlawful practice and how a California debt collection harassment lawyer can help you explore your legal option.
What Is Debt Collection Abuse?
When a consumer owes a debt, it is not uncommon for the creditor to hire a third party to collect the amount owed. This is because lenders do not have the time or resources to personally go after everyone who owes them money. However, these third-party collectors often rely on abusive and unfair practices to collect the money. This is commonly referred to as collection abuse or harassment and is not legal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Anytime a creditor engages in the following behavior, it can be deemed collection abuse:
- Calling a debtor repeatedly in a short period of time
- Calling a debtor before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Speaking to anyone other than the debtor about the money, such as a roommate or employer
- Misrepresenting themselves by failing to give their name or claiming to be an attorney/member of law enforcement
- Sharing information about you and your debt public as a means to humiliate you
- Making threats of physical violence toward you
- Threatening to arrest you
- Trying to enter your home
- Threatening to have your home foreclosed or your car repossessed
- Pursuing a debt that does not belong to you, has already been paid, or does not exist
It is vital to understand that the police cannot stop a debt collector from pursuing you unless they threaten you with physical violence. If this is the case and you fear for your safety and the well-being of your family, you should contact the police as soon as possible.
Do I Have Any Legal Options if I’m Being Harassed?
If you are harassed because you owe a debt, you may assume there is nothing you can do because you are the one who owes money. However, experiencing the aforementioned behavior is grounds for pursuing your legal options. Though you owe a debt, there are strict standards in place, and violating any of these can result in a lawsuit against the collector.
At Loker Law, we believe that no one should deal with threatening, abusive, or vulgar means of debt collection. If you’ve experienced any harassment as a result of an owed debt, contact us today. Our dedicated legal team is ready to help you fight against unfair collection practices.