An experienced Bankruptcy Attorney can help you with your debt concerns. Debt collectors are allowed to continually try to collect or verify what’s owed to them. However, harassment is against the law under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. While most creditors will adhere to practices that are consistent with the law, other debt collectors may harass you to try to force payment. If you feel that you have been harassed by creditors, there are some actions you can take to get the harassment to stop, including filing for bankruptcy.
Document the Harassment
If you feel that a debt collector is harassing you, document all of your interactions with them, including the:
● Time of the call
● How frequently do they call you
● What the debt collector says
You can have another person in the room listening to the harassment to serve as a witness. You shouldn’t try to record the call, as recording phone calls without the consent of the other person is illegal in Minnesota.
Mail a Written Request for No Contact to the Debt Collector
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can send debt collectors a written request to stop calling you. If they do not stop contacting you, you can report their noncompliance to the Federal Trade Commission. Just remember that sending a “letter for no contact” does not mean the debt goes away, rather the harassment should stop. Another debt collector may pick up the account and try to get you to pay it.
File a Complaint With the State Attorney General
In addition to filing a report with the FTC, you can file a report with the State Attorney General. You should send a written copy to the debt collection agency and the original creditor so that they know that you reported their behavior.
In some rare cases, the debt collector or creditor could make you the offer to cancel your debt if you withdraw your complaint with the State Attorney General’s office. Sometimes this process is faster than the process with the FTC.
Sue the Debt Collection Agency for Harassing You
You could choose to sue the debt collection agency for the harassment. While this probably isn’t the right option for most people, if you have experienced severe harassment at the hands of a debt collector, this could be an option that is available to you. You don’t necessarily have to prove that you suffered any damages from the harassment to win.
You only have a year to sue a debt collector for harassment under the statute of limitations. If you plan to go this route, be sure to discuss your potential case with a lawyer to understand the process.
Negotiate Better Terms With the Debt Collector
The debt collector’s goal is to get you to pay your debt and to get paid. Sometimes you can work out a deal with the debt collector for a lesser amount or pay back what you owe under a payment plan. This might include disputing some of the charges, repayment plans, loan workouts, or credit counseling.
Debt collectors would rather have you pay something than nothing. If you are able to reach an understanding with the creditor, then they will stop harassing you because you two have worked out a repayment plan.
If you struggling to pay off the debts and are dealing with harassment from creditors, it might be time to consider filing bankruptcy. Under bankruptcy protection, the creditor harassment will stop because they have to stop contacting you. If you owe more than your income, earn a relatively small salary, or face overwhelming debt, it is important to consider bankruptcy as a valid way to get your personal finances back in order. It is a right under the law that offers you benefits and protections. Contact Kain + Henehan bankruptcy attorneys to make sure you understand your rights.
Don’t Ignore Debt, Creditors, and Debt Collectors Completely
Ultimately, you are responsible for paying back your debt and you know that. Harrassment by creditors just adds to the problem. People do not willingly get overwhelmed by debt. Usually it is because of unexpected circumstances like for example a medical emergency which creates high medical bills and loss of income. But simply ignoring your debts may cause a creditor to try to sue you, especially if the amount you owe is substantial.
First, make sure that the debt they want you to repay is legitimate. For instance, if you are a victim of identity theft those debts may not legitimately be yours and there are different steps that you should take to stop the harassment.
Second, you can try to work in good faith with creditors on repayment plans. You might be less likely to experience ongoing harassment this way.
Third, do report creditors that violate the law to the appropriate authorities. Work with a lawyer, as needed, to know your rights.
Contact a Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyer
Debt collectors work to try to collect what’s owed to creditors. However, they should not harass or threaten you. If you’re ready to stop the creditor calls, we can help with compassionate care and advisement. Contact Kain + Henehan by calling (612) 438-8006 or filling out the online form.