When you owe money from a loan or mortgage, you may suddenly find yourself in a mafia-esque situation. Creditors can seem to act more like mobsters coming to collect money for the boss. There are several ways – some illegal – that creditors can pressure you to pay up.
The Federal Trade Commission set guidelines for how creditors can contact borrowers in order to protect people who owe money from added stress. These laws prevent unethical debt collection practices.
Illegal: Pretending to be a cop or lawyer
You are not obligated to obey a debt collector, even if they say that they have a search warrant, you are under arrest or you are guilty of a crime. Their job is to communicate the details of your debt and repayment honestly. In addition, they must report the facts, such as the amount you owe, with accuracy.
Legal: Calling you at work
Your debt collector may or may not know your work hours. As frustrating as it can be to have your day interrupted with sensitive personal topics like debt, a call to your work or cell number is legal.
However, if your employer does not allow these kinds of calls during the day, you should inform your creditor. Once they are aware of this rule, they cannot call you during your shift.
Illegal: Profanity, violent threats
Under no circumstances can a creditor threaten to harm you or scare you with vulgar language. This is abusive behavior against the law. Illegal harassment also includes calling constantly to irritate you.
To know your rights and put a stop to creditors who disturb you, you can consult an attorney. Often, declaring bankruptcy can end legal, but harmful, tactics. A lawyer can also help you mediate communication with creditors, saving you the stress of endless confrontations.