Jacksonville Creditor Harassment Attorney
Getting Harassed by a Debt Collector? We Can Help.
Among the most burdensome elements of bankruptcy is dealing with debt collectors. With so much on your plate already, the last thing you need is to deal with harassment from these third-party professionals. Ironically, their behavior and actions can be extremely unprofessional, as debt collectors often resort to threats, repetitive communication efforts, and other types of harassment in order to achieve their bottom line. However, you should not succumb to their unfair debt collection practices.
Instead, you should hire an experienced lawyer who can fiercely defend your rights and work to stop creditors from harassing you. If circumstances call for it, our Jacksonville creditor harassment lawyer will hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoings. We can take creditors or debt collectors to court or obtain court orders from a judge to stop the harassment. Our team will work tirelessly to improve your situation and give you some peace of mind as you work to resolve your debts.
We welcome you to discuss your case with us during a consultation. To get started, reach out to our firm online or at (904) 574-5499!
What Debt Collectors Cannot Do
Abuse by debt collectors is all too common. Unfortunately, debtors don’t really know how much is too much and where to draw the line. This often holds in bankruptcy cases, where it is the debtor’s first time filing for bankruptcy and thus dealing with unfair debt collection practices. Given that it’s their first time filing for bankruptcy, these debtors don’t know how to identify or resolve abusive debt collection practices, and understandably so.
As such, we explain what debt collectors CANNOT do below. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits the following collection practices against consumer debt
Creditors cannot harass you.
- They can’t threaten to hurt you
- They may not use obscene or profane language
- They can’t repeatedly call you
Collectors cannot lie to you.
- They cannot tell you that you owe a different amount than what you actually owe
- They may not pretend to be an attorney or from the government
- They can’t tell you that you’ll be arrested or claim they’ll take legal action against you if it’s not true
Collectors cannot treat you unfairly.
- They may not try to collect interest, fees, or other charges on top of the amount you owe, unless the original contract or law says they can
- They can’t deposit a post-dated check early
- They cannot publicly reveal your debts, including by sending postcards or putting information on envelopes
As obvious as it sounds, creditors cannot be manipulative, abusive, or disrespectful. One would reasonably assume that any professional shouldn’t act out of line and harass others, but that is not always the case when it comes to debt collectors.
In addition, the FDCPA also protects consumer privacy by restricting ways in which debt collectors can communicate with them. Key elements of these privacy protections include:
- Collectors are prohibited from communicating with third parties like friends, neighbors, and children. They are allowed to contact the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor), guardian, lawyer, executor, or an administrator.
- No communication at any unusual time or place. In the absence of other knowledge, the law assumes that after 8:00 a.m. and before 9:00 p.m. is the only convenient time.
- No communication with the consumer if the collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney. Communication must then be with the attorney.
- No communication at consumer’s place of employment if the collector knows or has reason to know that the employer prohibits such communication or personal calls in general.
If the consumer notifies the collector in writing that they refuse to pay
the debt or wants the collector to cease communication, the collector
must stop requesting payment and may communicate only:
- To advise the consumer that the collector’s further efforts are being terminated
- To notify the consumer that the collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies
- Where applicable, to notify the consumer that the collector intends to invoke a specified remedy
What Can Debt Collectors Do?
Now that you have a better idea of what debt collectors and creditors cannot do, it will help you to learn what creditors can do. Believe it or not, they cannot do much after they seize your house, car, or other property as collateral on a loan. Once these efforts have been made, the creditor can legally only do the following 3 things:
- Stop doing business with you
- Report a default to a credit bureau
- Sue you in court (although, that rarely happens)
How to Avoid Creditor Harassment
The first and foremost thing you should do is hire a creditor harassment lawyer to protect your rights and help defend you from unfair debt collection practices. When you turn to Lansing Roy, P.A. for your needs, our attorney will evaluate your situation and what lead up to the harassment, strategize ways to help minimize and eliminate the abuse, and fight for the best possible outcomes in your situation.
Other options you have to avoid harassment include:
Be proactive: To help prevent the problem from getting worse, try to resolve the issue with the creditor before the transfer the debt to a collection agency. This is because once the debt goes to collections, that’s when the nightmare could begin. As such, consider calling the creditor to explain your situation and try to resolve things early on if your lawyer advises you to do so. Your lawyer may even call the creditor on your behalf.
Negotiate with the creditor or collector: It’s usually easier to negotiate with a creditor early on before they send your debt to the collection agency, although, you and your attorney can negotiate directly with the collection agency if needed.
Cease letter: The simplest way to end creditor harassment is to write them a cease letter, as federal law requires collectors to obey written requests to stop their unfair practices. Your lawyer can help you draft a cease letter to ensure it is concise, accurate, and effective.
Lawyer’s letter: If the cease letter does not change anything, a letter from your attorney might.
Raise complaints about billing errors and other defenses: If a collection letter has a mistake, you can write to request a correction, and the agency must then inform you of your right to dispute the debt. If the consumer still disputes the debt, the creditor must stop their collection efforts until it verifies the accuracy of the debt.
Complain to a government agency: If your situation persists, your attorney may advise you to write to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Florida Attorney General’s office, or other government agencies responsible for enforcing debt collection abuse laws. They will probably write the complaint on your behalf to ensure it is effective and precise.
File for bankruptcy: Filing for bankruptcy generally triggers an automatic stay, which essentially stops all collection activity. This option should only be utilized if your debt is truly overwhelming and unmanageable, not merely to stop harassing creditors. Ensure you hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you with the process and enforce the automatic stay on all collection efforts against you.
Sue the debt collector: You have the right to sue for debt collection harassment. Many consumers do not exercise this right because, frankly, they don’t know they have this right. As always, consult with your lawyer before filing a lawsuit against your collectors.
Ready to get started? Your path to peace of mind begins when you call (904) 574-5499 or schedule your consultation online! Our creditor harassment lawyer proudly serves clients in Jacksonville.
We had great experiences with Mr. Roy. And all the folks here.Kathryn D.
We were referred to Lansing Roy and it was one of the best decisions we made.Douglas P.
A wonderful firm!!!Brenda B.
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Florida To speak to a Jacksonville bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney from our law firm, call us at (904) 574-5499 or email us for a FREE consultation. We may be able to help you get your financial life back on track.