What Do I Do When A Debt Collector Keeps Calling?
Your phone ringing every day from the same number. You usually don’t pick it up because you know that it’s a debt collector. Every once in awhile, you answer the phone to confirm your suspicions. One of three things happens: the voice on the other end is recorded, there is a long pause before your are connected to someone, or the person at the other end immediately starts in with their spiel. You might receive 5 to 10 calls per day. They call while you are getting ready for work, while you are driving to work, on your lunch break, and after you get home for the night. They are persistent, you have to give them that. You want it to stop. It’s driving you crazy. But what can you do?
You have options.
First of all, you can contact an attorney that handles debt collector harassment cases. If the debt collector is calling at inappropriate times, calling you at work, or harassing you on the phone, you might have a case against them. If you hire an attorney and they continue to call you, your case only gets stronger.
If you don’t want to hire an attorney yet, you can tell them to stop calling you next time you are brave enough to answer one of their calls. They might listen, but it will be hard to prove if they don’t If you know their address, the best thing to do is to send them a letter telling them that they do not have permission to call you. Most will not call you again. If they do, you should talk to a consumer lawyer because that debt collector probably violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you do want to hire an attorney, or want to fight back against debt collectors, you should know a few of the ways that debt collector phone calls violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Is the debt collector calling early in the morning or late at night? If so, they are violating the FDCPA
- Is the debt collector calling many times in a very time? The FDCPA expressly forbids this practice.
- When you answer, does the debt collector tell you that they are a debt collector and any information you provide will be used for that purpose? If not, they are violating the FDCPA.
- Are they telling you that they are going to send someone out to serve you with documents, yet that person never, ever shows up? Yep, that’s a violation too.
- Are they calling you names, using profanity, or trying to shame you into paying your debt? Are they yelling at you, raising their voice, or hanging up on you? If so, they are definitely violating the FDCPA.
- Do they call your office? If so, does your office permit personal phone calls? If your office objects, which most do – that’s a violation.
- Debt collectors do not even have to talk to you to violate the FDCPA when they call. If they leave you a voice message that another person hears, they violated the FPDCA. If they call someone else and let them know you owe a debt, that is also a violation. If they leave you voicemail message that does not specifically identify them as a debt collector, they violated the FDCPA.
As you can see, debt collectors violate the FDCPA all the time. If they are calling you, it is probably a good idea for you to talk to a consumer lawyer to see if you have a case.
Oh, and one other note – if debt collectors are calling your cell phone and you never gave them your number, they may also be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which exposes them to significantly higher damages. If they are calling your cell phone, you may want to consult with a lawyer.