If you’ve taken on debt, you may have had to face collection agencies and creditors inquiring about your debt payments. While pursuing repayment is not against the law, harassment is.

Stopping creditor harassment is essential to your well-being and financial stability. It also prevents creditors from getting away with unfair and illegal practices. Stopping creditor harassment starts with understanding creditor harassment and your rights.

What Are Your Consumer Credit Rights?

If you’re facing harassment from creditors, you’re undoubtedly wondering, what are your consumer credit rights? In many cases, the law is on your side, especially if you’ve declared bankruptcy.

In the United States, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act describes creditors’ abilities and limitations to collect debt. Creditors do not have the right to harass debtors. Your consumer credit rights are governed by federal law, and they apply to all debtors. Essentially, the law says that creditors and collection agencies cannot threaten debtors or incessantly attempt to contact them.

  • Creditors might actually continue to contact you for reasons not wholly related to your debt. Creditors and loan companies might actually make offers for new loans or advertise new deals.
  • If any forms of contact cross into harassment, it’s important to take action to stop such activities. Further, creditors who continue to contact you after debt has been discharged, paid off, or improperly left on your credit report should be stopped.

What Does Creditor Harassment Look Like?

If you’re a debtor, then you’ve probably wondered, what does creditor harassment look like? Creditor harassment can take many forms. In the end, harassment describes aggressive tactics to collect a debt or aggravate a person in debt. By knowing what to look for, you can be aware of and vigilant in responding to harassment.

  • Threatening language — Creditor harassment often involves threatening language. Such language could be verbal or written. Threats demanding that you repay money or threats of arrest or of any harmful consequences should all be taken seriously. Profanity and abusive language can also be considered threatening.
  • Incessant phone calls — Phone calls seeking to collect on payments should not be excessive. Repetitive calls and calls at inappropriate times should not be tolerated and could be considered harassment.
  • Incessant emails, letters, and texts — It is also illegal for creditors to send incessant emails, letters, and texts to you. Creditors who continue to try to reach you about your debt are violating your rights.
  • Deception and misleading communication — Creditors cannot lie to you. They also cannot and should not make false claims or threats in order to get you to pay a debt. Creditors could make false claims about the consequences of not paying, about the amount owed, and about many other factors.
  • Misrepresenting identity — A creditor posing as a government agent, law enforcement personnel, or any other false or misrepresented identity is not permitted. Such actions, which often seek to coerce a debtor to pay, qualify as creditor harassment.

This is not an exhaustive list of what creditor harassment looks like. Remember, if you think you are being harassed, you have rights and protections available.

What Rights Does the Creditor Have?

Generally speaking, creditors do have the right to get back the money that is owed to them. In fact, they do have the right to take legal action to obtain that money. But even with the rights the creditors have, they do not have the right to harass debtors.

Creditors are entitled to pursue collections and file a lawsuit against a debtor. However, when these actions cross over to harassment, creditors have violated debtors’ rights.

How to Stop Creditor Harassment

Bankruptcy and the Automatic Stay

One of the simplest and most effective ways to stop creditor harassment is to declare bankruptcy. After declaring bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect.

An automatic stay is a provision and court order that stops any debt collection efforts and related forms of contact. The automatic stay stops:

  • Harassing phone calls and letters
  • Foreclosures
  • Repossession of property
  • Debt-related lawsuits
  • Wage garnishments

The automatic stay is designed to give debtors the resources and time needed to recoup. By providing an enforceable form of protection, debtors can work on handling their debt without creditor harassment. Typically sent via letter, the automatic stay goes into effect as soon as a debtor declares bankruptcy.

In some cases, a creditor might not have received notice yet of the automatic stay. But such notifications and letters are usually processed quickly, so be on your guard for any creditors who claim to have not heard.

  • If creditors continue to contact a debtor after the automatic stay goes into effect, bankruptcy courts can resend the automatic stay notification letter.
  • If the problem persists, debtors or a bankruptcy attorney can pursue a harassment lawsuit.

Even if you are not declaring bankruptcy, it’s important to know how to stop creditor harassment. Below are several steps to take on how to stop creditor harassment even if you aren’t declaring bankruptcy.

Writing a Letter

To stop creditor harassment, the first step is to write a letter. Once the letter has been received, federal law says the creditor must stop contacting you.

The debt, however, will not go away even if no one is contacting you about it. It’s important to remember that debt must still be managed even without harassment or reminders from creditors.

Even if contact ceases, debt collectors can still report your missed payment to credit agencies, which can further harm your credit. They could also seek to file a debt-related lawsuit against you.

Documenting Communication

Be sure to document all instances of contact by creditors. If they call, text, send a letter, or contact you in any other way, be sure to save that communication and note the date and time. This way when you try to have the harassment stopped, you’ll have records to draw from.

Filing a Complaint

You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding debt collection harassment. The filing can be done online. When you file, it helps to have all communication and harassment claims documented. You will be required to submit specific information on the harassment.

We Know How to Stop Creditor Harassment

If you’re facing harassment from creditors, having Ohio bankruptcy attorneys on your side will be essential. Our legal team knows all about stopping creditor harassment and how to get collection agencies to comply.

Facing debt is challenging enough. We can help to improve your financial future and know how to stop creditor harassment. Learn more about how we can help. Give us a call at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati).

Attorney Tom Fesenmyer

Attorney Thomas M. Fesenmyer (Tom) is dedicated to helping his clients solve their financial issues in a timely and cost-effective manner. Tom has personally filed several thousand cases and has the expertise to achieve immediate results for his clients, including stopping Foreclosures, Repossessions, Wage Garnishments, Law Suits, Utility Shut-offs, Creditor Harassment, Bank Attachments, and Pay-Day Loans. Tom’s goal for all of his clients is asset protection and debt elimination.[ Attorney Bio ]


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