If, for whatever reason, you are late paying a bill – are bill collectors allowed to harass you for the payment? The short answer is, no. However, if you have ever been in this situation, you know it would seem that nothing can stop the harassing phone calls.
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 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.
Keep a diary. It is a good idea to keep a file of all letters or documents a debit collector sends you, and copies of anything you send to a debt collector. 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.