Your Rights When a Creditor Bullies You
When you are struggling to make ends meet, the stress and anxiety can make your life miserable. The last thing you need is an aggressive creditor or collection agency calling you at all hours of the day or night, threatening you with legal action or even calling family or neighbors and telling them about your personal debts. You don’t have to be a victim of offensive or inappropriate tactics by bill collectors. You have rights.
For a “personal, family, or household” debt, you have a wide range of rights under a federal statute, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law limits the hours during which a creditor or collection agency may call you. It also requires that debt collectors stop communicating with you if you provide written notice that you want no more contact. It also forbids communication with any third party (other than your spouse or attorney) except to obtain location information. (Note this does not apply to “business debts”, nor does it apply to a creditor who is contacting you to collect their own debt.)
If you have a debt collector or creditor who is harassing you, we recommend that you take the following steps:
- Log all calls — Ask for the name of the debt collector and the company they represent. Get a phone number as well.
- Hire an attorney — Once you are represented by counsel, you can simply tell all debt collectors to direct any further communications to your lawyer.
- If debt collectors continue to call, record the conversation (you should always advise them that they are being recorded. Recording calls from states such as California can result in criminal or civil liability).
The FDCPA does not apply to business obligations. If you are being hounded because of a business debt, your best course of action is to retain legal counsel and to advise any debt collector that they must communicate only with your attorney. If they disregard your request, you should log all calls and record conversations, if possible.
Whether or not these laws apply, you may have other protections.
Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP
At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. To set up a meeting, call Neuner & Ventura at (856) 596-2828 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
Representing Clients across South Jersey