Consumers with credit card debt are often already filled with frustration and anxiety over their situations. While a friendly reminder from a creditor may help a consumer stay on top of his or her debts, harassing calls from debt collectors may serve only to intimidate and increase the level of stress. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from aggressive debt collectors by setting specific guidelines for what they can and cannot do to collect a debt.
When a debt collector persists in contacting a consumer in violation of the rules of the FDCPA, the consumer has the right to send a “cease communication notice” to request that they stop all contact. Consumers will want to take this step especially when a debt collector does any of the following illegal acts:
- Refusing to stop collection actions before complying with a consumer’s written request for verification of the debt
- Calling other people the consumer knows to get information about where the consumer may be
- Revealing information about the debt to those who are not involved in the matter, such as neighbors, extended family or co-workers
- Using abusive language or making threats of violence
- Calling between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the consumer’s time zone
- Calling repeatedly in a single day or at times when it is obviously inconvenient, such as holidays
Tennessee consumers may feel so overwhelmed by the constant harassment that they may agree to make payments on a debt they do not owe. Instead, they may wish to learn more about their rights under the FDCPA and the options available, such as bankruptcy, for finding relief from their overwhelming debt and an end to harassing calls from debt collectors.