In today’s turbulent economic climate, more people than ever are finding themselves plagued by aggressive debt collector harassment. Daunting letters, threatening phone calls, and even intimidating personal contact are all standard fare in overzealous creditors’ repertoires. However, Such tactics are often unethical and illegal.
What Can Debtors Do?
Various consumer protection laws exist at both the state and federal level to safeguard debtors against abusive debt collection practices.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The FDCPA limits creditor telephone contact with consumers to certain hours of the day and days of the week. Bill collectors may not contact a debtor at his or her place of business or employment if the employer prohibits it or the debtor requests that such calls cease or not occur.
FDCPA provisions also forbid threatening, obscene, harassing, abusive, or profane language and repetitive collection calls intended to frighten the debtors into paying. The FDCPA sets forth 16 misleading and false tactics that creditors may not employ to scare or pressure debtors. Among these are threatening arrest, imprisonment, and money or property seizure via garnishment or sale.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
Enacted in 1991, the TCPA forbids creditors and debt collectors from using automated dialing equipment to call cellphones without the debtor’s prior “express consent” to such contact. Express consent is usually obtained at time of initial application for credit, but the debtor may revoke it at any time. TCPA violations are punishable by up to a $500 penalty per unauthorized call.
The Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA)
This law governs Texas debt collector activities and forbids abusive or fraudulent debt collection tactics by both individual and commercial debt collectors. The TDCA also makes it unlawful for a collector to try and collect any amount(s) in excess of the originally agreed upon amount(s) whether or not the initial contract was written or not.
Protecting Yourself from Harassment
Consumers who are currently experiencing financial difficulties and want to stop collection calls and other creditor harassment should not hesitate to contact a McKinney defense attorney right away. The experienced, knowledgeable McKinney debt defense attorneys at Joe Knows Law are available for questions and advice by calling (972) 562-9700.