I help people in Northern Ohio file lawsuits for debt collector harassment. It is very common that consumers who have fallen behind in their bills to be harassed at least once by a debt collector. In fact, stopping creditor harassment is one of the main things which lead people to consider filing bankruptcy.
If your consumer debt has been in default for more than a year, it is highly unlikely that you are being pursued by the original creditor. Under accounting rules, the original creditor must write off debts which are not collectible after three to six months. Then the original creditor sells the debt to a third party collection agency, also known as a debt collector. The usual rate debt collectors pay for defaulted loans is around 3 per cent of the amount of the original debt.
Debt collectors’ notoriously outrageous behavior led Congress to regulate their activities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed in 1977. Under this law, debt collectors are clearly prohibited from engaging in a variety of unfair practices. Here are some examples of conduct which the law prohibits:
- Contacting a consumer and failing to identify themselves.
- Contacting you via post card.
- Contacting you after he knows that you are represented by an attorney.
- Contacting you at an inconvenient time, such as before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. local time.
- Contacting you at your work place if you have stated that your employer prohibits you from receiving phone calls of this nature at work.
- Contacting your friends, neighbors or co-workers and telling them you owe money.
- Contacting you after you have notified them to stop contacting you.
- Threatening to have you arrested when they have no intention of doing so.
- Using obscene, threatening or profane language in contacting you.
- Repeated or continuous phone calls.
- Falsely implying that you committed a crime.
- Failing to advise you of your right to dispute the debt.
The statute provides that a debt collector who violates this law is liable for up to $1,000 in damages for each time they violate the law. The debt collector also has to pay your legal fees. Finally, they have to pay any actual damages you suffer (lost work, medical bills, etc.).
To discuss your experience with a debt collector, call me for an appointment. My office is located in Independence, Ohio, convenient to both Cleveland and Akron. We will review your case at no cost and consider whether a lawsuit should be filed.