Providing New Jersey Residents With A Fresh Start

Don’t let debt collectors harass you: You have rights

One thing that you should know, regardless of the financial situation you’re in, is that you have the right not to be harassed by debt collectors.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot oppress, harass or abuse you or anyone they contact in relation to one of your debts. Unfortunately, some agents do harass people.

What are some examples of harassing activities?

It’s no secret that some debt collectors use unsavory means to try to collect. Some of the activities that debt collectors are not allowed to participate in include:

  • Calling without stating who they are
  • Publishing list of people who have refused to pay their debts
  • Threatening harm or violence to those who cannot or will not pay
  • Repeatedly calling with the intention to abuse, harass or annoy the person answering the phone
  • Profanity or obscene language

The FDCPA also states that debt collectors can’t use misleading practices. They can’t misrepresent who they are or what they’re trying to collect. For example, they can’t claim they’re an attorney if they aren’t, and they can’t make a threat to have you arrested.

What should you do if a debt collector is harassing you?

If a debt collector is harassing you, or if you are concerned that they may, then keep copies of all of the documents you receive from them. You should also write down anything you discuss with them and note if the conversation was recorded. Note the dates and times of the conversations or phone calls, so you can show if the agent is calling too often or harassing you.

How can you resolve these debts?

There are several ways that you can resolve debts that have gone to collections, such as by paying in full, paying a negotiated settlement or going into bankruptcy.

Depending on your financial situation, a payment plan may work well to pay off what you owe, or you may find that it’s better for you to have those debts discharged in bankruptcy. Your attorney can talk to you more about your options and discuss how each of them could impact you in the future.