Debt Collection A to Z: H is for Harassment
Debt is all around us. With today’s challenged economy it is not uncommon for people to fall behind on their debts and obligations. Creditors and collectors want their money which, while understandable, does not allow them to violate rules relating to debt collection. These rules exist at the federal and state levels and violations can result in monetary penalties which in some case exceed the amount of the debt sought to be collected. So don’t you think you should learn about some of these rules?
The FDCPA is an oft-cited law which does regulate collection activity but it has a limited application–it only applies to collection agencies or entities collecting on the debt of another. So it does not apply to one who collects on his own debt. The NC Debt Collection Act, however, regulates the conduct of anybody collecting on any debt owed (or allegedly owed) to anyone.
Some prohibited acts and practices include but are not limited to: publishing a deadbeat list (link), repeatedly calling a persons place of employment or business when another valid phone number exists and the collector has been instructed not to call at the place of employment or business, pretending to be law enforcement or some government agency, adding bogus fees and charges to drive up the amount of the debt, etc.
Another nugget to know and share is that falling behind on one’s private debt (ex: credit card, charge card, loan) will NOT result in the person going to jail and for a creditor or collector to suggest otherwise is illegal. And one current ongoing nationwide problem is phone calls and voice messages from collectors allegedly collecting on payday loan debt and threatening to have the alleged debtor served with legal process if payment is not made within a very short time frame. If you or someone you know is the victim of harassing, unfair, or problematic debt collection activity consult an experienced consumer law attorney.