Few things in life have the potential to be more stressful than having insufficient resources to pay your debts. After all, if you cannot pay your monthly bills, you may worry about meeting your basic needs as well as your family's needs. Even worse, your credit score may plummet, making your financial future uncertain.
While you likely have some options for addressing your debt, such as filing for bankruptcy protection, you should not have to put up with improper debt collection practices. Fortunately, the law is on your side. The 1977 Debt Collections Practices Act outlaws harassment. Still, debt collectors regularly ignore legal restrictions. Here are four illegal ways a debt collector may attempt to harass you:
1. Publishing your name
Debt collectors may not publish your name in an attempt to embarrass or intimidate you. If a collection agency lists your information online or in a newspaper, it is likely engaging in illegal harassment. Of course, debt collectors can provide details about you to credit reporting agencies.
2. Repeated phone calls
You should not have to feel a sense of anxiety every time your phone rings. Nonetheless, many debt collectors place repeated calls to make you feel uncomfortable. If a debt collector tries to obtain payment by making your phone ring off the hook, you may have to wonder if harassment is the real goal.
3. Threats of violence
Aggressive debt collectors often have few boundaries when it comes to decorum and politeness. Still, threats of violence against you or your loved ones are not only unacceptable, but they are also illegal.
There is nothing inherently wrong with using stern language to collect debts. There should be, though, a bold line between debt collection and obscene language. If a debt collector curses at you, he or she has crossed that line.
If you have mountains of debt you cannot pay, explore your legal options. You can likely come up with a strategy that may stop debt collection altogether. Until you do, though, you should realize what constitutes impermissible harassment.