Nevadans who are being bullied by aggressive debt collectors have the ability to end the bullying by using the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The law prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain practices when they are trying to collect a debt. By taking several steps, debtors may stop the harassment. If the bullying continues, FDCPA violations attorneys may file lawsuits on behalf of their clients to secure injunctions and to recover damages from the violating collectors. Here is what debtors can try to stop bullying behavior from collectors.
Prohibited Collection Activities
The FDCPA prohibits collectors from engaging in multiple activities, including the following:
- Calling during inconvenient hours, including before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Making verbal threats or using abusive language
- Threatening jail or criminal prosecution
- Discussing the debt with third parties
- Contacting the debtor at work if it is prohibited by the employer or is clearly inconvenient
- Continuing contact after a debtor has told the collector that the debtor wants all communication to cease
There are other prohibited collection activities that some debt collectors engage in when they are attempting to collect debts. FDCPA violations attorneys may advise their clients about whether or not a particular action is prohibited under the federal law.
Ending Bullying From Collectors
While debt collectors are allowed to try to collect the debts that are owed, they must do so in a manner that complies with the FDCPA. If a collector is engaging in prohibited tactics, the debtors should try to put an end to the bullying by taking several steps.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors must provide documentation of the debts that they are attempting to collect to debtors who request it. This documentation should show proof that the debt is valid and include all of the transactions that have occurred. If the collector is not able to prove the validity of the debt through documentation, it will not be allowed to make any further attempts to collect on it.
Tell the Collector to End Contact
Debtors have the right to tell debt collectors to stop communicating with them. They should send a notice in writing to the collectors that clearly states that all communication should end. Debt collectors are forbidden from continuing communication attempts via telephone and in writing once they receive these notices. If they ignore the notices and continue the harassment, the debtors may have valid grounds to seek and recover damages from the collectors. While the debt collectors will no longer be able to call the debtors on the telephone, they will be allowed to send a notice informing the debtors of the intent to pursue a judgment in court, however.
Understand the Law
When debtors are receiving repeated contacts or communications attempts from debt collectors, it is important for them to understand the FDCPA and what it requires. As in anything, knowledge is power in debt collection attempts. For example, debt collectors are prohibited from discussing a debtor’s debt with a third party. However, the debt collectors are allowed to talk to third parties in order to ask for how to contact debtors, including asking for their addresses and telephone numbers. They may not explain that they are trying to collect a debt or that the debtor owes money to them. Debt collectors may only call third parties to request telephone numbers and address information once and may not repeatedly call the third parties.
A caveat about prohibited times for calling is that the times are the debtors’ local times rather than those of the debt collectors. If a debtor is represented by a lawyer and informs the debt collector of that, the collector may then only communicate with the lawyer and must end all of its communication attempts with the debtor directly. Debt collectors are also not allowed to inform the debtor’s employer, neighbors or others that the debtor owes money to them and that they are trying to collect a debt.
Debt Collection Violations and Damages
When a debt collector continues engaging in bullying behavior or harassment, debtors may file lawsuits against them in court. FDCPA violations attorneys may assist their clients with seeking damages from the debt collectors that have violated the law. Under the FDCPA, debtors and FDCPA violations attorneys may recover monetary damages, including compensation for emotional and physical distress, lost wages, attorney fees and costs and statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition, injunctive relief might also be available to stop the debt collector from further telephone calls and letters. In some cases, the court might also order the debt collector to stop reporting the account on the debtor’s credit report. The damages that might be available will depend on the debtor’s individual situation and the losses that he or she has incurred as a result of the harassment.