If you’re wondering what’s considered debt collector harassment or can a debt collector come to your house, here’s what you need to know.
Debt can be a burden regardless of how much and whether or not you’ve kept up with it. But what happens when you’ve reached the point where you’re receiving collection calls from creditors?
Here’s what you need to know about handling creditors trying to collect a debt.
1. Know Your Rights
The first thing you need to do is understand your rights as a debtor.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from unfair or abusive debt collection practices. “Unfair and abusive” includes things like:
- Threatening you
- Using profane language
- Call excessively
- Share information about your debt with third parties without permission
If a debt collector does violate the FDCPA, you can sue them and recover damages of up to $1,000.
2. Keep Track of Calls
Once you start getting calls from debt collectors, it’s important to keep track of who is calling and when. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a spreadsheet or document where you can keep all of this information in one place.
Include in your record:
- Name of the company
- Date and time they called
- Amount they claim you owe
- Whether or not you spoke with them
This information comes in handy if you need to take legal action against a debt collector later on down the road.
3. Do Not Ignore the Calls
While it may be tempting to just ignore calls from creditors, this is not a good idea. If you do not respond to a debt collector’s attempts to contact you, they’ll eventually file a lawsuit against you. If this happens, you will have to appear in court and explain why you haven’t been paying your debts.
It’s always better to just bite the bullet and deal with the situation head-on rather than ignore it and hope it will go away on its own. This is the case whether or not the debt is legitimate. Even if debt collection efforts are a mistake, you must still try to resolve the situation. Not doing so could give the collector legal authority to collect a debt you wouldn’t otherwise owe.
4. Be Polite But Firm
When you do speak with a debt collector, it’s important to be polite but firm at the same time.
Never give them personal information that they could use to withdraw money from your bank account or put a lien on your property. You also should not agree to make any payments until you have spoken with an attorney or bankruptcy trustee first.
By being polite but firm, you can make sure that the debt collector respects your rights while still working towards a resolution.
5. Examine Your Options, Including Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy shouldn’t be your first choice, but you should always keep the option open. There are other ways to handle your debts, such as negotiating with your creditors directly or enrolling in a debt management program through a credit counseling agency like National Debt Relief.
These options may not work for everyone, but it’s important to consider them before declaring bankruptcy.
Dealing with debt collectors is never fun. It’s important to know they have limits. Debt collectors cannot come to your house. They cannot harass you or your loved ones. But there are many things debt collectors can do to collect the money you owe them.
Following these tips ensures you are handling the situation in the best way possible. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced debt settlement lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696.