Dealing with debt collectors can be a stressful and frustrating experience, especially if they resort to abusive or harassing tactics. However, it’s important to remember that you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and other laws that protect consumers from such practices. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies for dealing with abusive debt collectors.
1. Know your rights
The first step in dealing with abusive debt collectors is to know your rights under the FDCPA. According to this law, debt collectors are not allowed to:
Contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. or at work if they know your employer does not allow it.
Harass, threaten or intimidate you, including using profane language, name-calling or making false statements about you.
Contact third parties, such as family members or neighbors, except to obtain your contact information.
Misrepresent the amount you owe, the debt collector’s identity, or the consequences of not paying.
Add unauthorized fees, interest or other charges to your debt.
Take legal action against you if the debt is beyond the statute of limitations.
If a debt collector violates any of these rules, you have the right to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or sue the collector for damages.
2. Document everything
It’s important to keep track of all communication with debt collectors, including phone calls, letters, and emails. Write down the date, time, and the content of the conversation or message, including any threats or abusive language used by the collector. Keep copies of any letters or emails you receive, as well as any bills or statements related to the debt.
3. Communicate in writing
If you’re being harassed by phone, consider communicating with the debt collector in writing. According to the FDCPA, you have the right to request that a debt collector stop contacting you. Send a letter to the collector, via certified mail with return receipt requested, asking them to cease all communication. Once they receive your letter, they are legally required to stop contacting you, except to confirm that they received your request or to notify you of legal action.
4. Stay calm and firm
If you do speak with a debt collector, remain calm and assertive. Don’t let them intimidate or harass you. Keep your conversation focused on the facts and avoid getting emotional. If the collector becomes abusive or threatening, politely end the call and report their behavior to the FTC.
5. Get help from a professional
If you’re unable to resolve the issue on your own, consider seeking help from an law firm like Kazerouni Law Group, APC, that specializes in consumer protection. The consumer protection attorneys at Kazerouni Law Group can provide you with guidance on how to deal with abusive debt collectors, and help you seek compensation for their illegal behavior. They can also help you negotiate a payment plan or settlement with the collector.
In conclusion, dealing with abusive debt collectors can be a challenging and stressful experience. However, by knowing your rights, documenting everything, communicating in writing, staying calm and firm, and getting help from a professional, you can protect yourself and take steps towards resolving your debt. Remember, you don’t have to tolerate abusive or harassing behavior from debt collectors, and there are laws in place to protect you from such practices.