Abusive debt collection practices are common. However, most of this is illegal and you can fight back! There are both California and federal laws that protect you against this abuse.
Most of the abusive debt collection is committed by debt collectors who are hired by your creditors to collect from you, because they don’t get paid if they don’t collect. Calling constantly, calling outside of the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. or calling at times when you told them not to call, swearing at you, lying to you about the debt or its consequences, talking about your debt in front of others including leaving phone messages that can be heard by other people, and/or threatening you with things like imprisonment or physical harm are all illegal.
If you are being illegally abused by a debt collector, take the following steps:
- Confirm that you actually owe the debt. If not, tell the debt collector so, and put it in writing.
- Make notes of all phone calls from the debt collector, including the time & date of the call, the name of the person who called, the name of the debt collection company, and the name of the creditor. Then note the abusive behavior.
- If you don’t want them to call you, tell them how you wish to be contacted. If you don’t want them to contacted at all, tell them so. Any request like these should be in writing and sent by certified mail with return receipt requested. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter, and the return receipt when you get it.
You can sue debt collectors and creditors if they violate the law and abuse you, often at no cost to you. If you are suffering from this type of abuse, contact an attorney today.