If you have been unable to pay some of your bills, you may have been harassed by creditors. You may have been experiencing 20 or more phone calls a day from collection agencies. Or, you may have experienced a creditor show up to your home or workplace demanding payment. These situations are embarrassing and frustrating. It is important that California residents know their rights regarding being harassed or abused by creditors.
When are Collection Calls Considered Harassment in California?
Federal and state law protects consumers from harassment by collectors. Specifically, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act sets limits on when and how collectors can contact you for payment. Whether or not you owe a debt, it is essential to know that debt collectors cannot engage in the following practices:
- Repeatedly call debtors during a short period
- Threaten debtors with jail time or make any other type of threat that will scare someone into paying their debt
- Make threats of violence
- Call you at work or mail letters to you at your place of employment
- Calling very early in the morning or late at night
- Use obscene or vulgar language
- Publishing lists of people who refuse to pay their debts
- Calling consumers without telling them who they are
Creditors cannot make misrepresentations to consumers. They cannot lie or misrepresent the amount the consumer owes or pretend to be an attorney when they are not one. Collectors cannot threaten you to do things that they have no intention of doing. If you have been harassed, it is wise to keep all of the documents creditors have sent you. You should also keep a log of all of their threatening phone calls and messages.
Remedies Available for Victims of Creditor Harassment
When a collection agency or creditor violates the law by engaging in one of these behaviors, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against them in a state in federal court. You may be entitled to compensation for damages you have suffered by the collector. Additionally, you may be entitled to attorney’s fees and court costs as well as up to $1,000 in statutory damages. California’s law, the Rosenthal FDCPA, provides consumers with even more protection than federal law.
Protect Your Rights as a Consumer
In many cases, the collection agencies and your creditors may engage in illegal behavior to collect from you. Even though federal and state laws prohibit creditors from harassing you, many collectors break the law. If you have been harassed by multiple phone calls, letters, or even threats from a collection agency, Bankruptcy Law Center can help you sue them.
We have a proven track record of fighting for clients who have been illegally harassed by collection agencies. You do not have to continue being harassed by creditors or collection agencies. Contact the San Diego bankruptcy lawyers at Bankruptcy Law Center today to learn how you can fight back against harassing creditors.