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By Logan Weinkauf
Founding Attorney

If you’ve ever been late in paying a bill, you’ve likely been the target of multiple calls, texts, and emails containing a barrage of messages about what you owe and the need to pay it. Debt collectors are never shy about asserting their rights.  

Did you know that debtors have rights, too, as set out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)? 

Sometimes, the best option is to consult a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney. Here we will discuss how to deal with debt collection harassment and what alternatives there are for protecting yourself.

Defining Debt Collector Harassment

There is a big difference between a reminder that you owe a debt and actual harassment. Debt collectors may cross the line in ways such as constant calls, verbal abuse, threats, and sharing personal information without your consent. However, there are clear boundaries between legitimate debt collection methods and harassment.

The laws that limit debt collection are outlined by the FDCPA as reported by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

  • Harassment is prohibited, by phone, text, or email.
  • Time and place: debt collectors aren’t allowed to contact you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. They aren’t allowed to contact you at work if you can’t take personal calls there.
  • Social Media: debt collectors aren’t allowed to harass you on social media. They can’t post publicly about you owing a debt, although they can message you privately.

If you are the victim of debt collectors who violate these rules, keep a detailed record of how/when and where they contact you, in case you need to use it in court. For example, note that you received three calls from a certain phone number between two and three in the morning and it woke your entire family, etc.

Making the Harassment Stop

Debt collectors are required to send you a validation notice saying they are trying to collect a debt, but they have to give you the option not to receive further communications. You can write a letter to a debt collector and tell them to stop contacting you about the debt. It doesn’t free you from the obligation of paying it, but it stops the contact.

When a debt collector gets your letter requesting they stop communicating with you, they can’t  communicate with you again except to:

  • Let you know they won’t contact you again
  • Let you know that they (or the creditor) might take other actions. For example, they may file a lawsuit against you

If you call a debt collector and ask for a payment plan, they will usually work with you as long as you make your payments on time and in full, but of course, that may not be possible.Knowing your rights as a debtor is very important, but sometimes your financial situation may simply make it impossible for you to pay off your debts. Calling a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney, one who is very experienced, may be the best option. Call us today.

About the Author
Logan represents individuals and small businesses in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and nearly every county court in Massachusetts. He approaches each case with empathy for the people behind the case. He works efficiently to deliver cost-effective solutions. He has advised people and businesses on creditor and debtor matters across diverse areas of law, including corporate law, real estate, and family law issues. This puts Logan at the leading edge of debtor’s rights, asset protection, and litigation. Logan is a trusted advisor to individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and business owners.