What to Do if a Creditor is Harassing You
Creditors have a legal right to repayment for the loans they make. What they don’t have is a license to harass their debtors. Unfortunately, creditor harassment is very real and can undermine your health, self-esteem, and quality of life.
If you are on the receiving end of harassing conduct, we recommend that you follow the steps below. Bankruptcy is often an ideal way to get creditors off your back and to wipe out qualifying debts at the same time.
Document the Harassing Conduct
Creditors have become very aggressive over the years at trying to get debtors to cough up money. Some of them will:
- Call at all hours of the day and night
- Show up at your home
- Show up at your place of work
- Threaten violence to you or your family
- Shout, scream, and use profanity
- Call or contact your family or friends
- Threaten to send you to prison for not repaying debt
Harassment is never acceptable. In fact, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits abusive behavior when committed by collection agencies. Although the FDCPA might not apply to the creditor themselves, you should not tolerate any abusive conduct.
To fully document it, keep all written communications as well as voicemail messages. If you spoke to a collections agent in person or over the phone, document the date and time, as well as the substance of the communication.
Send a Cease Communications Letter
You are not obligated to talk with a collections agent. Of course, they can go ahead and sue, but that is their right. If an agent calls you on the phone, you can tell them that you are hanging up and do not want to talk to them anymore.
Ideally, you will send a Cease Communications Letter. This letter tells the agent in no uncertain terms that you do not want to be contacted anymore about the debt. After a creditor receives the letter, they may contact you one additional time to tell you they have received the letter and what action they intend to take. But that is it. It should stop all communications.
Remember, sending this letter does not eliminate your debt. You could still be sued on the debt, and the creditor can take actions, such as garnishing your wages or putting a lien on your property. You will eventually need to confront the debt in a rational manner so that you can move on financially. But the letter should stop the harassment.
Meet with a Bankruptcy Lawyer for Additional Assistance
Many consumers wait far too long to finally file for bankruptcy. We realize there is a certain stigma attached to it, but the sooner you wipe out qualifying debts, the faster you can get back on firm financial footing.
At Nowack & Olson, PLLC we have helped many creditors with harassment. Once we file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay should immediately halt any collection efforts, including lawsuits. To speak with one of our Plantation creditor harassment lawyers, contact us today. We offer a free consultation.