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A majority of Americans have credit card debt. It is not uncommon, and often times it is the only way most Americans can afford to pay for more expensive items. But what happens when those payments become overdue? You may be receiving debt collection calls and it might be the most annoying thing you have ever experienced. Is what these callers doing legal? There are certain guidelines that need to be followed by these companies, and if they do not abide by the rules, they may be held responsible.
How common is credit card debt?
According to NerdWallet, “Debt carried over from one month to the next is revolving debt and usually incurs interest charges. The average U.S. household with revolving credit card debt has an estimated balance of $6,849 as of September 2019, costing an average of $1,162 in annual interest.” As you can tell, it is fairly common. Those who have medical issues and those with children likely have even higher debt amounts. The problem is that when Americans find themselves behind on these payments, the creditors begin calling nonstop.
What is creditor harassment?
Creditor harassment is the continued and repeated contact by a credit agency regarding a debt that you owe. Creditor harassment includes name calling over the phone, repeated phone calls numerous times every day, calls that come in super early or extremely late in the evening. If you are getting these calls night and day by one or more credit agencies, you are likely experiencing creditor harassment.
Aren’t there laws which are meant to prevent this from happening?
Yes, there are. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law which was put in pace to prevent creditors from abusing debtors. It is important to note that the FDCPA only applies if you are being contacted by a debt collection company, not if you are simply being contacted by the credit card company themselves. Typically, when someone owes a debt, the credit card company will try for a brief period of time to collect the money due and when they have no success, they turn it over to a debt collection company. So, the federal protections will only come into play if you are being contacted by a debt collection company.
What should I do if I am experiencing creditor harassment?
The first thing you should do is ask that they stop contacting you. Then you should follow that up with a letter called a cease communications letter. This letter lets the creditor know that you no longer wish to speak to them and explain the reason why you either cannot repay the debt or do not actually owe the debt to begin with. Keep a copy of this letter and make sure to send it certified to show that they received it. After they receive this letter, they should only be calling you once more just to let you know that they received it. If they continue to call after they received that letter, they would then be in violation of FDCPA and you may have legal remedies against them. Just remember that this does not extinguish the debt, and they can still pursue you in court and obtain a judgment against you. If you find that the debt collection companies still continue to harass you for the money even after you have sent them a letter asking them to stop, you may want to get an attorney involved to sue them for harassment. Often times creditors will continue to call the person owing the debt because they know that most individuals do not know how the law works. They know that they can get away with it so the continue. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group know better than that. We know that creditor harassment is a real problem, and that they should not be able to continue to contact you. Our attorneys can be reached at 727-933-0015. We are standing by and our consultations are always free. Call us today to put an end to credit harassment for good.