Too many people in Ohio are struggling with debt and facing creditor harassment. If you are one of them, you are probably asking yourself what you can do to make it stop. Fortunately, several federal and state laws restrict the tactics and behavior of debt collectors. There is also a process for filing complaints when debt collectors cross the line. Hiring a lawyer can also ease the stress of dealing with creditors since they will have to contact your attorney directly.
To speak with a knowledgeable and dedicated Ohio debt collection lawyer, call (888) 726-3181 or submit a request online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. Luftman, Heck & Associates will review your situation and prodive your best options for debt relief and ending creditor harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act
The primary law that protects you against creditor harassment is the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA).
This federal law prohibits third-party debt collectors from engaging in threatening, abusive, or unfair practices. But the law does not apply to the financial institutions, businesses, or individuals who may have loaned you money in the first place. The law only applies to third-party debt collectors.
What’s Covered by the FDCPA?
The FDCPA doesn’t apply to all types of debt either. For example, business, child support, or tax debts are not included under FDCPA protections. The following types of debts, however, are covered:
- Auto loans
- Utility bills
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
Under the FDCPA, a third-party debt collector may not do any of the following:
- Call you during unreasonable hours (between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.)
- Call you at your job
- Contact you if you are represented by a lawyer
- Share information about you with third parties
- Call you repeatedly in an abusive or harassing manner
- Continue to contact you after you have sent written notice for them to stop
- Use threatening or profane language
- Threaten legal action where it is not permitted
- Continue to call you after you’ve filed for bankruptcy
- Publish your name or other information on a list of bad debtors
- Impersonate a law enforcement officer or government employee
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors must clearly identify themselves when they call, and then explain how they will use the information they gather during the call. Additionally, they must provide you with proof of your debt, and inform you of your right to dispute it.
Other Federal Laws that Apply to Debt Collectors
Although FDCPA is the primary law that applies to creditor harassment, your case may also involve one or more of the following federal statutes:
- Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)–This federal law controls how much money can be garnished from your wages when you owe a debt. If a creditor takes more than 25 percent of your disposable income earnings, they may be in violation of federal law.
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)–This federal regulation makes it illegal for debt collectors to use automated dialing technology, also known as “robocalls,” and from leaving deceiving or pre-recorded voice messages on your phone.
It is not uncommon for a creditor harassment case to involve multiple legal violations. A debt collector willing to break one law usually is willing to break others. But do not let this illegal behavior intimidate you. A lawyer can help protect you and your family from unscrupulous creditors.
Ohio Laws Against Creditor Harassment
The Ohio Commercial Sales Protection Act, or OCSPA, includes debt collection calls from third-party debt collectors in its definition of consumer transactions. The Act also restricts the practices of many creditors such as mortgage lenders, and grants broad investigative and enforcement powers to the state attorney general. The OCSPA is a complex piece of legislation, however, and not all lenders are covered by it.
An Ohio consumer rights attorney can help you determine what laws apply to your situation, depending on the facts specific to your case.
An Ohio Debt Lawyer Can Help
We know you’re struggling with debt and should not feel pressured by abusive debt collectors. You have legal rights and options in these situations. in addition to making them stop, you may be entitled to financial damages.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, let us answer your debt collection questions and find a debt relief solution. Call us now at (888) 726-3181 for a free consultation or submit the details of your situation online.