Creditor harassment may not be a common phenomenon, but it isn’t a rare one either. While harassment may sound too drastic a measure, you will be surprised by what many debtors go through. If you don’t know what we mean, consider yourself lucky!
What Amounts to Harassment?
Under the law, threatening violence, using obscene language and calling persistently with the intent to irritate/annoy amounts to harassment. Also, calling home at odd hours or at work place if there has been a notification to not do so or even calling up relatives or friends without your permission can all amount to harassment.
How Can I Avoid or Bring An End to This Harassment?
- It would not be a bad idea to try and start a dialogue with the creditor before anything else, unless you have a strong sense that the person may not be affable. Explain why you are in default, and try to reason with them and ask for payment extensions or alternative arrangements if they can suggest anything, or put forth any ideas you may have.
As much as one would hope reason and logic can win the battle, the fact is that more often that not, it will not work this way. Debt collectors will probably live up to the stereotype of being unreasonable (sometimes even unfair and harsh) people. The next option you, as a debtor, have is to file for bankruptcy. Here is an option that will ensure that all debt collection activities (including phone calls), ethical or otherwise, come to an immediate end. As soon as you file for bankruptcy all creditors and bill creditors must immediately stop their collection efforts. Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, both the Bankruptcy Court and the attorney will notify all creditors of your bankruptcy through the mail. In the meanwhile, since this could take a week or so to reach them, you can also notify them in case you get a call, or a creditor comes ringing your doorbell.
What if Nothing Works?
First and foremost, there is no question of nothing working out. You must be aware a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has been put in place to keep a check on issues related to harassment by creditors. Also, in case creditors continue to contact you after you have filed for bankruptcy and informed them of the same, there are penalties and fines in place for them. In fact, once notified that you are represented by an attorney all calls must be directed through the attorney.
Remember, that the creditor may be unreasonable, but the law is not and our attorneys will provide you with able guidance to tackle such issues. Disclose any such instances that you may have experienced, and let the attorney deal with it through the appropriate legal methods.
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