With the CoronaVirus having shut down businesses, and folks being out of work, paying bills will become more difficult for some. But you should know that whatever the reason for a late bill payment, bill collectors are not allowed to harass you for payment.
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay a bill on time, attempt to make arrangements with the company to whom you owe the debt. Most companies will try to work with you without harassing you.
Harassment from bill collectors comes in many forms:
- Phone calls at all hours of the day and night;
- Obscene language; and even
- Threats of violence
For what it is worth, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that bill collectors may not do any of these things. They also may not publish your name unless they are reporting your debt to a collections agency.
Also, when speaking with you, debt collectors are required by law to identify themselves and to state the company for whom they are collecting the debt.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is a good idea to keep a diary of all conversations and communications you may have with a company. Write down dates and times of conversations along with notes about what you discussed. Records may be of help if you meet with a lawyer or end up in court.
If you feel you are being harassed, contact your state’s attorney general and file a complaint. Misrepresentations by any debt collection agency are against the law. This may include:
- The amount owed
- That the person is an attorney if they are not
- Threats to do things that are illegal
- False threats to have you arrested
- Threats to do things that the debt collector has no intention of doing
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.