Debt Collection A to Z: E is for Emotional Distress
Dealing with debt can be stressful. Finding the money to pay, prioritizing payments, and developing a plan for eventual payoff require some forethought. Undoubtedly there are times when folks get behind on their debts and obligations.
Even when a person is delinquent on a debt there are rules in place to govern the communication and collection that takes place regarding the debt. In far too many situations creditors and collectors cross the line when seeking to get their money. I will spare you a rehash of the horror stories in this blog post but trust me when I say they exist. (For those of you who just cannot stand the curiosity, click here for stories, information on harassing and unfair debt collection).
Repeated phone calls or other communication with obscenities, insults, and indignities are but a few examples of conduct that is not permissible under the law. These things can darken one’s mood and result in emotional distress.The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and North Carolina Debt Collection Act provide baseline protection for debtors and consumers and you should be generally familiar with each.
From a legal standpoint the emotional distress wrought on a debtor by a collector or a creditor can result in monetary damages to the debtor. Depending on the facts and the relevant law the debtor could stand to recover damages for emotional distress in addition to statutory (ie. mandatory) damages from the offending creditor/collector. If you have been abused or harassed by a creditor or debt collector you should consult an experienced consumer lawyer to evaluate your options. In some cases the damages to which you are entitled may exceed the amount of the debt you owe!