Creditor abuse can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless, but with the right debt collector help, you can stop the harassment. According to recent reports, nearly 80 million Americans have a debt that is in collection—from home mortgages, car loans, unpaid medical bills, to student loans.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who have debt in collection, learn about various forms of creditor abuse and ways to stop it.
You do not have to take on abusive creditors alone. Contact the experienced attorneys at McDonald Worley for a FREE case evaluation.
DEBT COLLECTOR ABUSE
Debt collectors are subject to a number of laws when they attempt to collect a debt, specifically the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was passed in the 1970s after reports of egregious debt collection practices being perpetrated on borrowers. If you are experiencing debt collector abuse, you should learn about these laws and how they can protect you.
Debt collector laws include:
- Limitations on when and how often debt collectors can call borrowers
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you notify them in writing that you do not wish to be contacted
- Debt collectors must tell you who they are
- Prohibition on abusive or profane language during debt collection
- Debt collectors are not allowed to contact you at work
Unfortunately, those who owe money do not always know that they are protected by law. Further, debt collectors can be fined under these laws for instances of harassment or abuse.
An experienced debt collector attorney can help you stop illegal activities by debt collectors, assist you with any outstanding debt or credit issues, obtain any fines for debt collector harassment, and obtain attorney’s fees.
PAYDAY LOAN ABUSE
Payday lenders are also subject to laws that protect those who have obtained loans. Payday loans are high interest loans that help people with unexpected expenses. Unfortunately, payday loans have been associated with deceptive practices that keep borrowers on the hook. Payday lenders have been known to harass, trick, and even abuse borrowers.
Common debt collector tactics include telling borrowers they are going to garnish their wages or hit them with criminal charges over the loan. Borrowers should know that it is illegal for payday lenders to threaten to use criminal proceedings to attempt to collect on a debt. Those that do so may be hit with steep fines. Additionally, payday lenders cannot threaten to use civil actions not available to creditors.
If a debt collector has threatened you with a criminal or civil action, a debt collector attorney can help you stop the abuse and hold the payday lender responsible for violating the laws that protect you.
CREDITOR CELL PHONE ABUSE
Have you received annoying, pre-recorded messages on your cell phone from creditors? These messages are a nuisance and use up time, data, and minutes on your mobile. They also may violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a federal law designed to protect consumers from harassing debt collectors.
Under the TCPA, companies are prohibited from using pre-recorded messages and autodialing to contact consumers without their consent, and this includes debt collectors. Violations of the TCPA carry steep penalties of up to $1,500 per violation.
The law also provides protections for those who register their numbers of the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
If you are receiving annoying automated messages on your cell phone from debt collectors, contact an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation under the TCPA.
CREDIT REPORT ERRORS
Errors on your credit report can have life-altering consequences. Negative reports cause your credit score to go down, making it more expensive or even impossible to get car and home loans. Poor credit scores can also affect what jobs you get and the homes you can rent. If these reports are errors, it means that you are paying thousands in interest for someone else’s mistake.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects you and others from these mistakes and provides other rights, including:
- Access to at least one free credit report from the credit bureaus each year
- Requires negative reports to be dropped after a certain amount of time has passed
- The right to challenge errors and ensure they are not added again
- The right to sue the bureaus, creditors, and those who use credit reports for violations of the FCRA
It is important to regularly check your credit report to ensure there are no errors. Common credit report errors include failing to note a debt is disputed or including an old, uncollectable debt on your report. False late payments and failure to note discharged or renegotiated debts also pop up on credit reports.
The FCRA also requires those who use your credit report to provide you a copy and notify you that your credit report will be accessed and used. The credit report bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, must also meet certain standards, including notification and investigation of disputed claims and correcting errors.
Debt collectors, creditors, and the credit bureaus themselves can make errors on your credit report that can cost you thousands. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to correct those errors and to get compensation for any damages you suffered.
In the digital age, identity theft is sadly becoming a more widespread threat. Those who have been affected by identity theft should know that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides them protection.
Identity thieves may have racked up huge debts in your name. The FCRA requires that credit bureaus protect you from negative reports that are the result of identity theft. Generally, your report of identity theft must be backed up by a police report, along with supporting documentation of your identity, and evidence that the debt is not a result of your transactions.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex and terrifying experience of having your identity stolen.