Some people fall behind on their bills because they forgot a due date or wrote a check but then did not drop it in the mail. Most people, however, who fall behind on their bills are well aware of their financial situation.
They may have lost their job and had no income to pay toward credit card balances. Their child may have suffered an injury, forcing the family to put medical expenses or groceries for the family on a credit card.
People who collect on unpaid bills for a living maybe try a compassionate or informative approach at first. However, when someone doesn’t quickly make arrangements to pay off what they owe, collectors can become much more aggressive. They may call you frequently, possibly even while you are at work. They may also start using aggressive or abusive language. When does the creditor’s collection activity cross the line into illegal behavior?
When their conduct constitutes harassment
If someone calls you five or six times a day just to disrupt you at work or repeatedly ask you about the same debt, that behavior may constitute harassment and a violation of fair debt collection practices. Making multiple calls in one day or even repeated calls every week could violate the debtor’s rights.
When they call at places or times that they should not
Fair debt collection laws limit collection phone calls to between 8 a.m. and 9 at night. However, people who work third shift can notify collectors not to call them during the day because such calls disrupt their sleep, just like late-night calls disrupt the average person.
A worker not allowed to get personal calls at work could also inform creditors not to call them at their job. Creditors who call at times or places that they know they should not may have violated the debtor’s rights.
When they threaten someone
Some collection specialists will become very aggressive, using cruel language to push someone into compliance. It isn’t illegal for someone to belittle you for falling behind financially, but it is absolutely illegal for them to threaten you. If they tell you they want to physically harm you or they threaten you with arrest over an unpaid debt, those actions could constitute a violation of your rights.
Knowing the rules that limit collection activities helps you stand up for yourself. When creditors become too aggressive, considering personal bankruptcy could help you put an end to their harassment.