There is not a more annoyingly persistent pest than a debt collector. They are like a dog with a bone when they come after you for a debt they think you owe. You are sick and tired of all the phone calls and letters and you just want to make it stop. I get it. Even if it’s easy enough to toss the letters without opening them and decline the phone calls as they come in, you’ve had enough. In fact, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have a right to make them stop contacting you, whether you actually owe the debt or not. However, my advice is to NOT stop contact—at least not yet.
Why You Want the Phone Calls to Keep Coming
Hear me out. I have a good reason for this. Under the law, a debt collector cannot harass or abuse you over a debt. The law also defines harassment and prohibits debt collectors from doing the following:
- Threatening violence
- Threatening serious consequences
- Using obscene or profane language
- Causing a telephone to ring continuously
- Engaging you in telephone conversation repeatedly with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass you
- Calling without telling you who they are
- Calling you at work
- Calling at inconvenient times
- Calling collect
- Sending you false, deceptive, or misleading materials
- Doing anything else that makes you feel threatened
If you have been on the receiving end of these kinds of communications, it is understandable that you would just want it to stop, and it is your right to stop it. However, it is also your right to sue the debt collector for damages when they have harassed you over a debt. In order to do that successfully, you will need evidence of the harassment.
Keep a Record of All Debt Collector Phone Calls
If you stop the harassment soon after it starts, you may be able to eat dinner in peace, but you may not have enough evidence to sue for damages. Instead, if you allow the communication to continue, but keep a record of all of it, you could have a strong case for damages. Here’s what I suggest:
Keep every debt collection letter you get.
You don’t even have to open them, but if you have saved them for a lawyer to review, he may find that the debt collector has violated the FDCPA in multiple ways by issuing threats, sending false or misleading information, or worse.
Record telephone conversations.
his is the best way to capture verbal threats, profanity, and other violations. If the caller does not identify himself as a debt collector and inform you that “any information gained from the call will be used to collect a debt” every time he calls, he has broken the law. A voice recording would prove this.
Keep a logbook.
Tracking the date and time of phone calls, unknown numbers coming in repeatedly on your caller ID, the frequency of hang-ups, calls to you at work or to your family or friends, and other violations, in a book you keep near your phone can prove invaluable when suing for harassment.
Of course, I don’t want you to suffer unnecessarily. If the calls are stressing you out and upsetting you, we need to make them stop. However, the more of this contact you save and document, the stronger your case will be.
How the Cardoza Law Corporation Can Help
As a former debt collections executive, I know that collection agencies have a tough time proving that you owe a debt and that they accidentally and intentionally violate consumer protection laws all the time. When debt collectors violate these laws, you have the right to take legal action against them and to seek compensation for your suffering. I will use the written and verbal communications between you and your collectors to prove that your credit companies have violated the law—and we will hold them accountable for their errors with fees and penalties. These penalties may be large enough to not only clear your debt (if it even existed in the first place), but even have enough left over for a cash reward.
To get started contact me online or call me directly at 855.982.2400.
Request a free copy of my book, The Secret World of Debt Collection and fill out the form on this page to get started.