Wilmington Consumer Tip: 5 Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do and How to Shut Them Down Skip to main content
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Wilmington Consumer Tip: 5 Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do and How to Shut Them Down

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Collection calls

Put an end to harassing debt collector calls

Image by rawpixel via Unsplash

There’s nothing quite so persistent and relentless as a debt collector chasing dollars. When your creditors are after late or missed payments, they may get increasingly aggressive to get what they’re owed, but they typically play by the rules. It’s when an agency takes on the debt on behalf of a creditor or, even worse, when a debt collection agency buys the debt, that things can get out of hand for Wilmington consumers.

Debt collectors have some powers under the law, but also must operate within the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from being abusive, unfair, or using deceptive practices. The law won’t always stop them, but there are things you can do to enforce your rights and shut them down.

What debt collectors can’t do by law

If debt collectors are hounding you, rest assured that you have rights under the FDCPA enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These include limits on debt collector activities including:

  • Limits on contact: Debt collectors are not permitted to call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They can’t call you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls of that nature.
  • Privacy: Debt collectors can’t contact friends or family or discuss your business with others. Lacking your number or address is the only reason they can reach out to your contacts.
  • No harassment or intimidation: When they call, they can’t harass or attempt to intimidate you. It includes repeatedly calling during the day, name calling, curses, or threats.
  • Representation: If you have a lawyer representing you for debt matters, they must contact the attorney, not you directly.
  • No deceptive actions: Debt collectors cannot lie to collect from you. They can’t claim to be law enforcement, lawyers, threaten arrest, etc. 

How to shut down debt collectors

There are several ways to put a stop to harassment by debt collectors. The first thing is to report them. Find out what debt they’re collecting on, the name of the agency, and their phone number. By law, they need to provide this information. That’s the starting point for lodging a complaint.

Note what they did to violate the FDCPA so that you can provide a detailed grievance. You may want to make a log of inappropriate calls and actions, so it makes it easier to build a case against the shady debt collection agency.

You can report a misbehaving creditor, debt collector, or agency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission or, locally, to the North Carolina Department of Justice or North Carolina Attorney General’s office.

In some cases, if the abuse or violation of your rights is substantial or ongoing, you may want to pursue a claim against them for damages. Some attorneys specialize in taking on debt collectors and making them pay for abusing Wilmington consumers.

Bankruptcy stops debt collectors

The second avenue to put an end to dodgy debt collectors is to file bankruptcy to discharge the debt. It helps in two ways. First, from the moment you file bankruptcy, all debt collection activity must cease by the “automatic bankruptcy stay.”

That means from the moment you file, calls, letters, and all direct contact about your debts must cease. If a creditor or debt collector calls after you file, refer them to your lawyer. If they keep contacting you, your bankruptcy attorney can pursue them for fines for violating the law.

Second, once the bankruptcy court discharges your debts, creditors and debt collectors can’t come after you ever again. The automatic stay represents immediate peace of mind while the bankruptcy discharge gives you permanent relief from harassment.

To find out more about the benefits of bankruptcy, contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt. Read reviews from our clients and then call 1-888-234-4181 to schedule a free Wilmington bankruptcy consultation at one of our locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington.

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