The last thing anyone in debt wants to hear is the sound of creditors calling. The phone seems to ring at all hours of the day and relief never seems to come. Victims of creditor harassment often allow the calls to continue because they are unaware of legal alternatives that would protect them from further harassment.
Because creditor calls will simply not stop on their own, victims need to realize they taking action is the only thing that will help. The following are alternatives that victims of creditor harassment can use in order to “fight back” against the seemingly never-ending calls.
Knowing Your Rights
It is not uncommon for debtors to believe that creditors have all of the leverage in matters of collection. While creditors do have leverage whenever it comes to collecting money, creditors do not have free reign when it comes to their collection efforts.
Under both Florida and Federal law, creditors must abide by specific rules. Violation of these rules provide debtors with legal rights to bring forth legal action against harassing creditors. Some restrictions creditors face under the Florida Consumer Collection Protection Act (FCCPA) include:
- Misrepresenting themselves as police or a government agent
- Contacting you between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without your permission
- Holding themselves out as attorneys or misrepresenting to you that an attorney is involved
- Communicating with you directly when they know you have retained legal counsel.
- Creditors that violate any of the restrictions set forth in the FCCPA are subject to payment of damages and attorney’s fees. Victims should remember that they may also bring forth a cause of action under federal law.
Is the Debt Real?
Creditors can best take advantage of those least suspecting individuals. Sometimes, calls about debt may in fact just be phishing scams attempting to collect free money. Victims of harassment may assume that the debt is real and they do in fact owe the money sought. It is imperative that individuals verify, by requesting documentation, that they do in fact owe the debt and that the company on behalf of whom the creditor is calling does own the debt. If the creditor is unable to provide proof of the original debt, the victim should assume that this is a potential fraud issue and should request that the creditor no longer call.
Work out a deal
Many debtors receive harassing phone calls because they are incapable of paying the debt owed. Reaching a deal may be the best option for both parties. Creditors are aware they will often be unable to collect all of a debtor’s outstanding debt; in many cases, they may not collect anything at all. However, reaching a deal provides the creditor with the opportunity to collect a reasonable portion of the debt and allows the debtor to settle for a manageable amount less than what he or she owes.
Call a St. Petersburg Creditor Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
If you are in debt, you do not need to be a victim of creditor harassment. The alternatives discussed above provide debtors with opportunities to reconcile debts while avoiding harassment. The skilled and knowledgeable team at Berkowitz & Myer will help protect you against harassing creditors and help you recover damages whenever permissible under Florida and federal law. Call 727-344-0123 and schedule your consultation today.