Addressing Debt Collection Complaints
What to do when a collector violates your rights.
Debt collection can’t be an easy job, but some collectors seem to take things to the extreme when they attempt to collect on bad debt. While some of these practices are just business, some of them can be downright illegal. Knowing the difference can help you keep yourself protected as a consumer.
Fact: Over 40% of the complaints received in 2012 dealt with repeated/continual collections call.
If you’ve faced an abusive collector and you think they crossed the line, don’t just sit back and take it! Call us or complete the form to the right to get started. We can also connect you with the right experts to find a solution for the debt, too.
Are collectors getting worse?
The FTC publishes a yearly report on debt collections complaints relating to the FDCPA. It shows a disturbing trend – a 6% increase in the number of complaints filed from 2008 to 2010. There was a 1% increase from 2010 to 2011 alone.
So more complaints are being filed every year. Whether it’s because the collectors are getting worse or just that there are more cases with the economic downturn, one thing is true – you are more at risk of facing collector abuse.
When you look at the FDCPA report beyond the increase in total calls, you see other trends that are important to note. In-house collections only accounted for about 4.8% of the total complaints received, while almost third-party collections accounted for 22.3% of all complaints received. This shows why it’s in your best interest to solve debt problems before they get sent to an outside collection agency.
What’s the most common type of collector harassment?
By category, the most common complaint (usually around 40 percent of total received) every year is repeated or continual calling practices. This is where a collector practically acts like a jilted ex – your phone is just ringing off the hook for hours on end.
The next most common complaint was profane or abusive language used during a collections call. This accounts just under about 15 percent of the total calls received. Calls before 8:00 A.M. or after 9:00 P.M. and threats of jails or violence round out the top four.
What to do when you think your rights are violated
Here are the steps you should follow if you think your rights have been violated during the collection process:
- Note the date and time when the abuse occurred, and the name of the representative if it occurred during a phone call. If the harassment occurs over a period of time, document it as carefully as possible.
- Check up on the FDCPA and verify for yourself that what happened to you violates the law.
- File your complaint with one of three agencies: FTC, CFPB or your state Attorney General’s office.
- Consider if you want take additional action, such as pursuing a harassment suit which could lead to compensation if you can prove your case. We can connect you with professionals who can help you do this.
Examples of complaint-worthy violations
Here is a quick list of a few practices that would violate your rights and give you reason to lodge a complaint with the FTC, CFPB or your state AG – at the very least. Again, keep in mind, that filing a complain isn’t enough to get you compensation if you feel like you are owed something for the abuse you faced. You also have to file case if you want to get compensation.
The following scenarios provide some clear examples of violations:
- The collector calls at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning to discuss your debt.
- The collector calls your boss to complain about your debt and/or try to get you fired.
- The collector calls at midnight.
- You receive 20 calls in the same day from a single collector (regardless of how many times you actually pick up the phone to talk to them).
- The collector says they will be by tomorrow to repossess your car if you don’t agree to pay something now.
- The collector tells you cops are on their way to your house because you failed to pay what you owe.
- The collector curses at you and your unwillingness to pay (regardless of what kind of language you used on them).
- You have retained legal representation, yet the collector continues to call you directly.
- The collectors call all of the friends listed in your social network to let them know what a deadbeat you are and see if they feel like paying your debt.
By law, a creditor must to honor your word if you say you cannot accept calls at a certain time on a certain day.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says you can expressly state days and times that you cannot accept collection calls. Once it’s been stated, that collector must follow the schedule you set.