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What is Considered Creditor Harassment?

 Posted on February 26, 2024 in Bankruptcy

New Braunfels bankruptcy lawyerDealing with debt collectors and bankruptcy can be stressful. However, creditors and collectors still have to follow fair debt collection rules. It is important that you know you have rights and what to do when a debt collector crosses the line. A Texas lawyer can help you determine if what you are dealing with is harassment and figure out the next steps.

Repeated Unwanted Calls

Creditors may call you to try collecting debts. However, the law limits how often they can call. Specifically, debt collectors may not place repeated harassing calls intending to abuse or harass.

Signs of potential phone harassment include:

  • Calling multiple times per day, even after requesting they stop
  • Calling early in the morning or late at night
  • Threatening to call your friends, family, or employer about the debt

If you request no further calls in writing and the collector keeps contacting you, that violates regulations. In Texas, you can sue for damages if the harassment continues after receiving written confirmation to cease communications.

Using Obscene and Profane Language

While collecting debts, creditors and third-party agencies must maintain professional courtesy. Tactics like cursing, racial slurs, or other malicious verbal attacks cross the line into illegal abuse. Document any conversations where the debt collector uses such inappropriate language. You can file complaints with consumer protection bureaus and potentially sue the agency.

Making Threats or False Statements

Collectors also cannot make threats or lie to extract payments. Common intimidation tactics include:

  • Threatening arrest or legal actions they do not intend to take
  • Falsely claiming you committed a crime by not paying
  • Stating they will garnish wages or put a lien on your assets when there are no judgments authorizing it

These examples blatantly violate federal and Texas laws prohibiting deceptive, unfair, and abusive collection practices. If a collector lies or issues baseless threats, record details about the interactions and report them immediately.

Harassing Friends, Family, or Employers

While original creditors can contact other parties about debts, third-party collectors face much stricter requirements before contacting others. In most cases, Texas debt collectors cannot reveal debts to friends, family, employers, or other contacts without permission.

Instances of potential harassment through other parties include:

  • Calling your workplace after being told not to
  • Contacting relatives or friends to discuss the debt
  • Discussing financial obligations with neighbors or acquaintances

Reporting Creditor Harassment

If you face creditor harassment, do not tolerate abusive or deceptive conduct. Instead, document everything and file complaints with various regulators. Helpful agencies include:

  • Texas Attorney General’s Office
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Local District Attorney’s Office
  • State Bar of Texas (for attorneys and law firms)

Provide copies of records, notes about calls and letters, recordings, and other evidence. The more precise details you furnish, the better.

Contact a New Braunfels, TX Bankruptcy Attorney

Dealing with outstanding debts creates plenty of stress without collectors crossing lines. Do not let agencies intimidate or manipulate you over money owed. Instead, understand what constitutes harassment under federal and Texas laws. Working with a San Antonio, TX bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand your rights. Call Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

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