Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work?

Life may deal you setbacks, or you may end up in financial straits, leaving you unable to pay some bills. Your creditors have the right to make collection efforts, and after your bills have been unpaid for a certain amount of time, they will sell your debt to a professional collector. The debt collector will do anything to get you to pay what you owe.

Debt collectors will call you as much as possible to get payment because they will earn money when you write them the check. They will use whatever leverage they have to persuade you to pay and are not above harassing and shaming you. This might include calling you wherever possible – including trying to contact you at work. Unfortunately, this is a lawful practice – to a point.

Too often, the practices of debt collectors cross the line and violate the rights of consumers under the law. When this happens, consumers should take action to hold these wrongful collectors accountable.

Unfortunately, many people do not know their rights and believe they must simply deal with the constant calls and potential humiliation of receiving constant calls, even at work.

You do not have to endure this abuse. You can seek legal help to fight back and protect yourself.

If you believe you have been a victim of illegal conduct from a debt collector, you may be entitled to financial compensation under federal or state law. Contact a fair debt collection practice act lawyer to see if you can take legal action that can lead to payment for what you have endured.


Debt Collectors May Pursue You to Make Money

After they have written off debts, the creditor may cease their collection efforts, but this does not mean you do not have to pay. The creditor will sell the debt to a debt collector, and you still have the legal obligation to repay.

The right to collect belongs to a third party, and your debt has nothing to do with your original creditor (to whom the FDCPA does not apply). It has everything to do with the profit (and potential greed) of the debt collector contacting you.

Debt collectors often make large amounts of money. They aggressively hunt for debts they can buy to collect from the people who owe. The more money they collect, the more debt they can afford to buy, and it is a cycle that can lead to immense profits for them. However, the debt collector has to find a way to convince you to repay or take legal action against you.

The debt collector has the power to sue you in court, although they prefer to take the easy win that comes when you pay the debt without needing a lawsuit. Nevertheless, many debt collection efforts can result in a judgment against you.

Debt Collectors Do Whatever They Can to Get You to Pay

Debt Collectors Do Whatever They Can to Get You to Pay

Debt collectors often like to find your pressure points to get you to pay what you owe and know you want to avoid being bothered at work. They understand you may lose credibility in front of your supervisor and co-workers if they learn you owe money.

Debt collectors think that calling you while you are at work, or even calling your employer, will frustrate and harass you into paying your debt.

You may even get in trouble when you get repeated phone calls at work, and some jobs can discipline you when you talk on your phone. Either way, these calls can harm your reputation at your job when co-workers learn that a debt collector is pursuing you.

Debt collection calls at work can be highly embarrassing and potentially damaging to your professional reputation. When a debt collector contacts you at your workplace, it exposes your financial difficulties to your colleagues and supervisors. 

This can lead to feelings of shame and humiliation, and may even put your employment at risk. It’s best to keep your personal financial matters separate from your professional life.

Additionally, debt collection calls at work can be incredibly disruptive and distracting. Your focus should be on your job responsibilities, not dealing with difficult conversations about your debts. These calls can interrupt important meetings or tasks, leading to decreased productivity and potentially affecting your overall performance at work.

Debt Collectors Cannot Do Anything and Everything They Want

Federal law governs when and how debt collectors can call you. A specific law limits their forms of contact and gives you some relief when they have violated the law.

Some initial limitations pertain to when the debt collector can call you. For example, they should only call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Then, the debt collector must refrain from using abusive collection techniques. They cannot call you names or use profanity and must also not harass you through repeated phone calls. The debt collector must identify themselves at the beginning of the phone call, and they cannot lie.

No restriction in the law will keep the debt collector from contacting you at work in their initial communication with you. They can continue to call you there so long as they follow the other restrictions in the law.

The good news is that the law also allows you to dictate when and how the debt collector can call you.

You Can Tell the Debt Collector Not to Call You at Work

It is your right to tell the debt collector when they can and cannot contact you. For example, you can inform them that you never want them to call you at work. You can also inform them if your employer has a policy against debt collection calls at work.

Once you tell them this, they must stop calling you at work or else they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

You may even tell the debt collector they cannot call or contact you under any circumstances. Once you do that, they must put you on a list where they will not communicate with you.

Telling the debt collector they cannot call you does not stop their collection efforts. They now own your debt and have a right to file a lawsuit against you. However, they must follow your directions or else face liability.

Follow Up What You Say With a Written Communication

Follow Up What You Say With a Written Communication

Of course, you should tell the debt collector verbally that they should not call you at work anymore. Make sure to do it the first time they call so there are no doubts. Once you tell the debt collector not to contact you, they must follow your orders.

You should also make sure to get their contact information. The debt collector will have identified themselves when they called you, but you will otherwise not know how to reach them.

Knowing where to contact the debt collector is essential because you should follow up your verbal instruction with a formal letter. The letter should summarize and restate that you are telling them not to contact you at work anymore. Your letter should also state any other restrictions on how the debt collector can or cannot communicate with you.

If you do not put it in writing, the debt collector may deny that you ever told them not to contact you at work. You can end up in a situation where it is your word against theirs, so you are better off with proof that you have directed them to stop calling you. This way, you can include it as part of your potential lawsuit as proof that the debt collector did not follow your direction.

Remain Calm When a Debt Collector Calls You at Work

You must not fight with the debt collector when they call you at work. You have legal rights under the FDCPA, so you do not have to persuade the debt collector of anything.

Once you tell them that they can no longer call you at work (or even call you at all), they must abide by your wishes. Otherwise, they have broken the law and have to pay a price.

If you lose your cool with the debt collector, you may even harm your ability to file a lawsuit. If you become hostile, they might use your behavior against you. In addition, you may end up making a scene at work that can harm your career. Your focus on your job may be affected, and your performance can suffer.

What Happens When the Debt Collector Breaks the Law?

Just because you owe money does not mean you are without legal rights. Both federal and state laws protect you from abusive debt-collection practices.

In the late 1980s, Congress recognized the harmful impacts of abusive debt collection practices on individuals and families, so they passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to prevent these actions.

The FDCPA placed numerous restrictions on how debt collectors can act and what they may do when dealing with you. The debt collector may face enforcement action from the federal or state government when they have broken the law.

The FDCPA also makes you your private attorney general, with the right to enforce the law through a lawsuit against the debt collector. Frequently, that is how they will face the consequences for their illegal actions and get the message that such conduct is unacceptable.

If the debt collector continues to call you at work after you have asked them to stop, you can file a lawsuit against them under the FDCPA. They can have to pay you if they have broken the law.

How You Can File a Lawsuit Against the Debt Collector

You can file a lawsuit against the debt collector when you have suffered damages. You can file or join a class action lawsuit when they have broken the law in a way that affects numerous people similarly.

Many debt collection lawsuits are class action cases. If the debt collector uses these illegal practices to collect your debt, you can assume they are doing the same thing to others.

Some FDCPA lawsuits lead to multi-million dollar settlements because the abusive conduct is pervasive at the company. The individual debt collectors may have an incentive to do whatever they must to get you to pay. Their compliance may be nonexistent because they sacrifice it for profits.

Damages in an FDCPA Lawsuit

If you file and win a lawsuit against the debt collector for illegally calling you at work, you may recover:

  • Lost income to the extent that the illegal calls harmed your productivity at work or even caused your employer to terminate you
  • Emotional distress that you suffer because of the debt collector’s harassment and illicit behavior
  • Medical bills if you suffered harm to your mental health that requires treatment

In addition, you can receive statutory damages of $1000 when the debt collector violates the law, regardless of the actual harm they caused you.

You cannot obtain punitive damages under the FDCPA. However, many illegal debt collection lawsuits fall under state law (which often allows you to receive punitive damages for egregious unlawful conduct).

An experienced FDCPA attorney can make sure to maximize your financial recovery, helping you determine whether to file your claim under federal or state law and fighting for you to get top dollar. ‘

You Can Get Justice After Being Subjected to Injustice; Call an FDCPA Attorney Today

When you file and win an FDCPA lawsuit, you can get a measure of justice when the debt collector has taken away your dignity and caused you harm. Forcing them to pay a price also lessens the chances that someone else may have to go through what you did.

You can regain your dignity and the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you took action against someone doing wrong to you and others.

Abbas Kazerounian, Consumer Protection Lawyer in San Diego
Abbas Kazerounian, San Diego FDCPA Lawyer

It does not cost you anything upfront to hire a consumer protection attorney in San Diego, and they only require payment after winning your case. If you do not win, you do not pay. An FDCPA lawyer will never ask you to pay them a retainer, and they will not send you any hourly bills.

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