If you have debts in collection, debt collectors can be ruthless in trying to recover the money. While the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act theoretically prohibits the collection of loans from becoming harassing or overly aggressive, consumers report more and more often that debt collectors are violating both the spirit and the letter of this law. The harassment can lead to consequences in your family life, your social standing, your career, and even your health.
People harassed by creditors report extremely high levels of stress compared to those who are not receiving collection calls, and high levels of stress can negatively impact all aspects of your life. Your health can suffer, as you are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart attacks, and generally lowered immune response. This means that your prospects of resolving the debt lessen, as your poor health can impact your career.
You career may also suffer due to harassing phone calls at the office. The stigma of receiving debt collection calls at the office can hurt your career prospects and reputation at work. Those debt collectors who are asked to stop calling your employer are required by law to stop, yet the Federal Trade Commission receives tens of thousands of complaints every year about creditors who break this law. Sometimes people can even lose their security clearance due to excessive debts in collection.
How Unfair Debt Collection Practices Hurt Relationships
Finally, unfair debt collection practices hurt interpersonal relationships. Marriages can suffer when you struggle to reach a compromise on how to handle your finances. The increased stress due to debt collection calls can hinder communication and decrease your sexual desire, which causes serious marital problems.
Debt collectors are generally only allowed to discuss your debt with you, a cosigner, your spouse, and your attorney, so in theory, their collection calls should not affect your relationships with other people, as they cannot discuss your debt with neighbors, relatives, friends, or coworkers. Unfortunately, many debt collectors violate this law by directly letting slip that they are looking for you for debt collection reasons or by leaving a public phone message that others can hear. When this happens, they are breaking the law, and you have the power to stop them.
How to Stop Creditors from Using Unfair Debt Collection Practices
As you can see, unfair debt collection practices are illegal for good reason, because they can do serious damage to all aspects of your life. Luckily, you do have recourse to stop the creditors and have them held accountable. Document any violations as soon as they happen. Write down exactly what happened, when it happened, and who witnessed it. Try to have another person present during all communications with the collector in the future, so that you have a witness.
Then, file a complaint with Federal Trade Commission, any state agencies, and the company the creditor works for. Once you have put these actions in motion, contact a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with creditors and debt settlement. They will be able to work out a fair and manageable way for you to deal with the debts and stop harassing calls. In cases of gross misconduct, they may even be able to press charges against the creditor who defied the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and sue for damages you consequently suffered.
You should never feel like you have no recourse to deal with this abuse. While unfair debt collection practices can do real damage to your life beyond your finances, you can fight back. If your rights are being violated by creditors, do not feel like you are alone. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we are on your side. Call Ohio consumer law attorney Jeremy Heck at (888) 726-3181 at any time to set up a free consultation to find out how we can help you get back on track. Don’t let unfair debt collection practices continue to hurt your health, career and relationships anymore.