Harassment is when a debt collector uses any sort of coercive, unduly threatening or misleading communication to try to collect a debt. One of the things that consumers should be aware of is that not all attempts to collect a debt are harassing or misleading. When a consumer believes that he or she is being harassed by a debt collector, it takes more than just a subjective opinion. The law, which is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, defines what is and is not considered to be harassment. One of the things that consumers should be aware of is that there may be actionable violations by debt collectors trying to collect debts that the consumer isn’t even aware of. There may also be some behavior by debt collectors, which the consumer takes offense to, that doesn’t violate the statute. The law is very specific in certain areas and is also changing constantly, based on various decisions from all over the country in state and federal courts.
If a debt collector happens to call a consumer and the consumer believes that they’ve been harassed, they should contact a qualified attorney who handles this type of case to determine whether or not there is harassment or a misleading statement that could substantiate a potential lawsuit against the debt collector.
What Type of Debts Are Protected Under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
When we talk about violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, for the most part, what we’re talking about our attempts to collect a debt by a third party debt collector. For example, the consumer owes money to the credit card company and the credit card company has an in-house department call the consumer, scream at them, make threats, and make misleading statements. That all comes from the credit card company itself and would not be covered under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, for the most part.
The people who are covered are third party debt collectors. In the same example, the credit card company hires an outside company to collect a debt for it. That outside company is covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If I have a debt for family, personal, or household purposes, like a credit card or a doctor’s bill, those types of debts would be covered under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as long as a third party debt collector is seeking to collect them. If I have a business debt or a business credit card, those types of debts are not covered because they’re not considered consumer debts. The other key word here is transaction. In order for the debt to be covered, regardless of who’s trying to collect it, there has to be an underlying transaction. If a third party collector is trying to go after unpaid parking tickets, library fines, court costs for criminal convictions, or probation fees, things like that are generally not considered debts because there’s no transaction. Those are excluded from coverage under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
What Can I Do If I Am Being Harassed By A Debt Collector?
If you feel you are being harassed by a debt collector, keep records of every single contact by the debt collector. Make sure you get the name, telephone number, and any other call back information about the identity of the company that’s calling and the time and date of the phone call. Take notes. In Michigan, you can record your own phone calls without even telling the other side that you’re recording it. The next thing you can do is contact a qualified consumer advocate and let that attorney know what’s going on, and the attorney will give you an honest assessment about whether or not you have a potential action against the debt collector.
For more information on Debt Collection Harassment In Michigan, Contact for a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 843-0550 today.