Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Additional ways to avoid being harassed by a debt collector:

1. Complain to a Government Agency

If you are being harassed by a debt collector, contact an agency, such as the Federal Trade Commission or your state attorney general's office. These agencies enforce the laws that prohibit debt collection abuse.

2. Bankruptcy

Filing for personal bankruptcy stops all collection activity from collectors, creditors, or even government officials. But, as a general rule, debt collection harassment can be stopped without going to the extreme of filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy should be saved for consumers that have serious financial troubles.

3. Sue the Debt Collector for Illegal Conduct.

Consumers are protected by federal and state fair debt laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. Debt collectors often break these rules because they think they can get away with it or that consumers are unaware that they have rights in these matters. However, only consumer debt transactions are covered by these laws. Original creditors and their employees are excluded from the federal law.

Keep in mind, however, that the debt collector has specified defenses under the law, including bona fide error defense. This is a limited defense and the debt collector must show that it adopted reasonable procedures to avoid such errors.

Additional claims to consider in debt collection harassment cases include:
  • Tort claims such as invasion of privacy or defamation
  • State debt collection remedies
  • State unfair and deceptive acts and practices laws
  • State credit repair organization laws
  • Unauthorized practice of law statutes
  • Criminal Laws

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