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Unfair Debt Collection Practices
Protect Yourself from Harassment & Other Illegal Actions.
Debt collectors often use unethical and downright illegal methods to get money from you. LHA protects your rights by making them adhere to the law.
What Is Debt Collection Harassment?
State and federal laws prohibit debt collectors from harassing, oppressing, and abusing you no matter how much money you owe them. Examples of debt collection harassment include:
- Repetitious phone calls
- Obscene or profane language
- Failing to identify themselves when they call
- Threatening violence or harm
- Publishing a list of people who owe them
- Lying about the amount you owe
- Stating they are an attorney if they are not
- Claiming to be from a government agency
- Making false threats to have you arrested
- Calling after you have demanded they cease communication
- Calling after your attorney has sent a representation letter
Debt collection harassment may include threats that the company cannot legally take or that the company does not have actual intention to take. That means they cannot threaten to sue you if they do not intend to do so.
Topics we’ll cover in the following video:
- Examples of unfair debt collection practices
- What to do if you suspect you’re a victim of unfair debt collection tactics
Types of Creditor Calls
The two main collection calls are: (1) those from an original creditor and (2) those from a third-party debt collector. Either could be harassing or deceptive, but you may not have the same remedy. Many state and federal laws only apply to third-party debt collectors.
Original Creditor Calls
An original creditor often makes the initial efforts to collect on a debt. They may have their internal billing department reach out multiple times. The primary federal debt collection law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), does not apply to original creditors. However, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (OCSPA) does have some restrictions.
Third-Party Debt Collectors
If an original creditor cannot recover money from you, they may transfer your debt to a third-party debt collection agency. These agencies often buy your debt from the original creditor or work for the original creditor in an attempt to get their money for them. Both the FDCPA and OCSPA apply to debt collection agencies.
You have a right to be treated respectfully, even if you owe someone else money, no matter the situation. A lawyer can help you determine if the law has been violated and determine your rights to compensation.
Not Just Any Debt Attorney
As a founding partner of LHA, debt attorney Jeremiah E. Heck is dedicated to helping people manage their financial situations. He isn’t afraid to fight back against unfair debt collection practices.
How To Stop Collection Calls
You can stop collection calls by telling the collection agency, in writing, to cease all contact with you via telephone. You should also specify that you are not allowed to receive calls at work to prevent them from calling you while you are at your job. Send the letter via certified mail with a return receipt. This acts as proof that they received the cease and desist letter.
If the collection agency fails to stop calling you after sending them a letter, you should immediately contact a creditor harassment lawyer. What they are doing is likely illegal under the FDCPA.
Can a Lawyer Help with Collection Calls?
When you tell a collection agency that an attorney represents you, they are no longer allowed to contact you directly. All communication must go through your attorney.
When you hire a lawyer, they will send all of your creditors a letter of representation, putting them on notice. After that, they should never contact you directly again. If they do, you should inform your lawyer to determine if your rights have been violated and you deserve compensation pursuant to the FDCPA or OCSPA.
Collection Harassment Laws
What Is the FDCPA?
The FDCPA applies to harassing and deceptive debt collection practices of third-party debt collectors. It does not apply to original creditors. Specifically, it prohibits debt collection agencies from using “abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices” to recover money.
It does the following:
- Forces the debt collector to verify your debt when requested
- Restricts the time of debt collection to between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. unless you agree otherwise
- Allows you to tell the debt collector not to contact you at work
- Prohibits harassment by the debt collector
- Forces the debt collector to contact your attorney if you have legal representation
If you think any of your rights have been violated by a debt collector, you should immediately contact a lawyer about creditor harassment. You may be eligible for compensation.
What Is the OCSPA?
The OCSPA is an Ohio law that fills some of the gaps created by the FDCPA. It applies to many original creditors but exempts some financial institutions attempting to collect a debt.
The OSCPA would apply when you purchase an item from a store, such as a piece of jewelry, and credit is extended at that store. This is often called “store credit.” If you become unable to pay, the store must comply with the OSCPA when attempting to collect. They may not engage in harassing or deceptive collection tactics similar to those prohibited by the FDCPA.
Why Use a Debt Harassment Lawyer
If you are hassled by a creditor or collection agency, you have options. You may be eligible to get relief through the FDCPA or OCSPA. LHA can help you understand your rights and a path forward.
Understand Your Rights
State and federal laws give you specific protections even if you cannot pay. You shouldn’t deal with harassment and unfair treatment from large, powerful companies. A lawyer can explain your options.
Representation for Debt Lawsuits
If a creditor or collection agency threatens a lawsuit, contact an attorney immediately. They are prohibited from making such threats if they do not intend to file a lawsuit. Whether they actually file, you will need legal representation throughout the process.
Handling Your Overall Situation
If debt collectors are calling and bothering you, you may feel overwhelmed. The lawyers at LHA have options to help you deal with your entire financial situation. Debt relief or bankruptcy may help you get a clean slate.