I was recently contacted by a individual who was being constantly harassed by a collection agency. He did not have a lot of debt, BUT one of his debts apparently fell into the hands of a “boiler room” type creditor. They called night and day and threatened him with all KINDS of horrendous consequences if he did not pay RIGHT NOW.
I have seen this type of behaviour in two venues – first and very common are fraudsters who set up fake companies or sometimes just use a VOIP line with fake numbers to call and get credit card swipes from panicking debtors. Things that can be tip offs – REALLY heavy accents or claiming to be a law firm in a different state or with some outlandish name. The second is legitimate, often small scale collectors that take on very low level debt, like payday loans or advance loans. These debts are hard to collect and hard to sell so collectors can be extremely aggressive in collecting these debts.
So, what can a debtor do when a collector is threatening to serve him with papers and seize his house, car, dog, kids, etc? The first thing to do is take careful records and notes of ANY collector’s calls. Give the creditor a rope and he or she will be creative with it. Next, be polite but firm in telling the collector to talk to your lawyer if you have one. If you don’t have a lawyer, hire one. Then, if you can, record the call and be as sweet as sugar. The collector may act like a schoolyard bully, but it is the better thing to turn the other cheek and let them talk.
If a creditor crosses the line, they can be sued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or your state’s equivalent law. They may then be liable, not just for statutory or actual damages, but your attorneys fees as well. The best person to advise you about your rights, however, is an attorney who can file a case for you and make the aggravation stop.