When you suffer from debt, it is hard to handle even the slightest additional stressor. The last thing you need on top of worrying about payments is to worry about the potentially harassing actions and behaviors of a debt collector.
If you believe a debt collector is or has harassed you, it is important to confirm this possibility. Doing so will allow you to take action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Calling in a harassing way
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look into actions that constitute creditor harassment. First, it can include phone calls and poor phone etiquette. A debt collector is harassing someone if they call during “off hours”, such as after dinner or before a person would normally wake up for work. They cannot call without leaving a message that identifies them. They also cannot use abusive or aggressive language in their calls.
Use of aggressive or abusive language
Likewise, they cannot communicate in this way with you face-to-face, either. Abusive or aggressive language can include the use of slurs or cursing, derogatory comments, or threats. Debt collectors may make various threats, too, such as threatening to evict you or your family. Some may take it a step further and make physical threats against you, or could even attempt to carry out a physical threat or make it seem as if they will try to.
They also cannot intimidate you in any way, especially physically. One example of intimidation involves a worker of the collection agency parking just off your property and staying in the car all day, simply watching your house and those inside. This stalker-like behavior can easily get them punished under the FDCPA.