Signs of Creditor Harassment
Just because you owe someone money, they do not have the right to threaten or harass you. Credit card companies, banks, debt collection agencies, junk debt collectors, and all other creditors must adhere to guidelines set by federal and New York State laws. You have the right to stop creditors who violate those rules and engage in debt collection harassment; you might even have a claim for money damages. Continue reading to learn about signs that you may be experiencing creditor harassment. If you’re dealing with aggressive creditors in the Hudson Valley, call a knowledgeable Poughkeepsie debt relief and bankruptcy lawyer to explore your options for debt relief.
Debt Collectors Cannot Engage in Harassment or Abuse
Under the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and similar New York State laws, there are limitations on the types of conduct that creditors can use to try to get you to pay the debts that you may (or may not) owe. Unscrupulous creditors, especially junk debt collectors and hired-gun debt collectors, often step outside of these boundaries to intimidate debtors.
Examples of unlawful behavior considered harassing or abusive include:
- Using violence or making threats of violence
- Threatening criminal conduct
- Using illegal means to damage your reputation or property
- Using obscene or profane language in communications with you
- Advertising your debt for sale in order to coerce payment
- Repeatedly or continuously calling you to annoy, abuse, or harass you
- Calling you without properly identifying themselves
- Publishing or threatening to publish your name on a list of debtors
- Making idle threats, such as a threat of legal action they don’t intend to pursue
Additionally, creditors cannot attempt to collect an amount greater than what is owed; they cannot deposit a post-dated check before the date on the check; and they cannot contact you by postcard.
Debt Collectors Cannot Make False or Misleading Representations
Consumer protection laws also prohibit debt collectors from making false statements or misrepresentations in their communications. They cannot lie to you in order to frighten or intimidate you into paying. Debt collectors cannot make representations concerning, for example, the following:
- Misrepresent what you owe
- Claim they are an attorney when they are not
- Claim they represent law enforcement or government agencies
- Claim you can be arrested based on your debts
- Threaten to do something they cannot legally do
- Threaten to do something they have no intention to do, such as file a lawsuit
- Falsely represent documents as official court or governmental agency documents
- Falsely claim they will seize your property or garnish your wages
- Falsely claim they represent a credit bureau
- Use a false business name
- Threaten to take your property through non-judicial action without the right to do so
If you’ve been subjected to repeated calls, emails, or letters, or if anything appears suspect about the way the creditors have represented their claims and your debts, then you might be the victim of unlawful creditor harassment or abuse. Talk to a debt collection and creditor protection lawyer to find out how you can make the calls stop, find out what you actually owe, and pursue legal action against harassing debt collections.
If you are struggling with debt in Orange, Ulster or Dutchess County, or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, contact the compassionate and dedicated New York bankruptcy legal team at the Law Office of Taran M. Provost, PLLC for a free consultation on your case at 845-733-2720.