Why Do Creditors Keep Harassing Me?
On behalf of Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas on Monday, August 15, 2011.
When you owe money to a creditor, their options for collecting are usually pretty limited unless they file a lawsuit. They often start by blowing up your telephone with several calls a day. They fill up your mailbox with letters from their collection department, their attorneys and debt collection companies. More aggressive creditors will call you at work -- even though you tell them to stop and they have also been reported to call neighbors and family members. I am often asked if there are laws against these tactics and the answer is yes.
The Fair Credit Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), prohibits all of these things that the creditors are doing. The FDCPA prohibits contact with family members (except spouses). The law prohibits credit collectors from calling you at inconvenient times - defined as before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. FDCPA also bars repetitive phone calls or the use of bad words or abusive language. The creditor can't threaten to file a lawsuit when there is no intent to do so. Debt collectors also cannot continue to contact you after you have told them that you are represented by a lawyer.
FDCPA sounds really good doesn't it? So why do creditors keep calling and harassing you after you've asked them to stop? Or why do they call you fifty times a day when they know that they can't? Because the law doesn't offer much help when it comes to enforcing its' provisions. If a creditor violates the FDCPA, you can bring a lawsuit but the damages are capped at $1,000. Bringing an individual lawsuit is very expensive and these cases are often difficult to prove. Most of the cases brought under this Act are class action lawsuits (suing on behalf of groups of people with the similar issue) but these cases are also few and far in between because of the legal hurdles.
A stronger deterrent for creditors are the protections offered through the bankruptcy code. Bankruptcy could also be a way for you to completely eliminate your debt or restructure the repayment into something you can afford.