We Can Help You Stop Abusive Debt Collection
Unlawful Debt Collection Tactics
There is a growing trend among debt collectors to use abusive tactics to collect money. Abusive tactics include:
- Calling an individual multiple times in a day with the intent to harass
- Yelling or using insulting language
- Calling someone a liar or a deadbeat
- Threats that a warrant could be issued for arrest or that an individual can be sent to jail for not paying a debt
- Threats to garnish if no lawsuit has been filed, or threats to take everything
- Calls to family or friends if the collector already has a valid contact number
- Calls at work after being told not to, or if the collector already has a valid contact number
- Discussing any details of an individual’s debt with someone other than the debtor
These are just some examples of abusive tactics. To make matters worse, these days debt collectors may be trying to collect money for debts that may have previously been settled or paid in full. Sometimes debt collectors may even try to collect money for a debt that was never yours in the first place.
In the majority of cases these tactics are against the law. And if you have already settled or paid your debt in full, or filed a bankruptcy discharging that debt, then no creditor or collector can demand that you pay it again.
Your Rights as a Consumer
There are a number of state and federal laws that protect you from collection harassment.
First and foremost is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act or FDCPA. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to consumer debts that are being collected by a third party debt collector rather than by the original Creditor. An example would be a credit card with American Express (the original creditor) now being collected by Nationwide Credit (the debt collector); or a debt to Providence Hospital (the original creditor) now being collected by Asset Systems (the debt collector).
The FDCPA protects individuals from being harassed, threatened, or intimidated by third party debt collectors. It also protects consumers from collection efforts for amounts that are not actually owed.
In general, third party debt collectors cannot:
- Use deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt
- Threaten to garnish or take property without explaining the full judicial procedure
- that must first be followed
- Call a consumer repeatedly with the intention to harass or intimidate
- Call at unusual hours
- Threaten to take any action that cannot legally be taken
- Use threats, obscene or profane language
- Falsely represent that a debt is owed, or misstate the amount owing
- Imply that a crime has been committed, or suggest that a warrant could be issued, or arrest made if the consumer fails to pay
- Call friends or family members of the consumer and discuss the debt, or call at work if they have reason to believe that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication
The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers from having one of the three major Credit Reporting Bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, report falsely regarding the status of an account, or the amount owed. We have successfully sued creditors for wrongly reporting facts on an individual’s credit report leading to a lowered credit score and difficulty obtaining credit.
There are also state laws that protect you. The Oregon Unfair Trade Practices Act spells out what an original creditor can and cannot do. In general, aspects of this law cover similar territory to the FDCPA, but with an original creditor such as US Bank, Wells Fargo, Chase, etc, rather than a third party debt collector.
Depending on the frequency and severity of violations, consumers can win settlements that vary in size, potentially handle the underlying debt, and pay all attorney fees. And, by taking appropriate action, consumers who have been harassed can help stop third party debt collectors from exploiting and harassing others.
If you have been threatened or harassed by a debt collector or an original creditor, call us to schedule a free consultation about your rights.
What Evidence You Will Need
Evidence is key. Save letters or notices. Keep track of who is calling you, and when they call. Keep good notes that detail the name of the collection company or original creditor, the name of the collection agent who is calling, the date of the call and what was said.
It is against the law for creditors to yell at you, swear, make rude or derogatory comments, or insist on speaking to other family members or friends.
If a creditor or debt collector leaves a rude or threatening message on your voicemail–don’t erase it! If the creditor or debt collector calls and states (in a pre-recorded message, or live) that the call may be recorded, then you may also want to record the call.
If you have recently been sued on a debt find out what rights you have, and how you might be protected, by calling us right away. If you wait too long you may be giving up your rights.
If you have been sued for a debt you don’t owe, or harassed by a debt collector, find out what your rights are.
Call us today at (503) 224-5950 to set up a consultation with an Attorney and find out how you can stop the harassment.