In Texas, you have certain protections if you file bankruptcy. One of the biggest boons is protection from debt collector harassment. Once you file, they legally cannot bother you for the duration of the bankruptcy.
But how do you know you are suffering from debt collector harassment? Where is the legal line drawn?
What is the FDCPA?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looks at debt collector harassment. The first thing to note is that this harassment is illegal in the United States under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act states that debt collectors cannot abuse, oppress or harass anyone they come into contact with in pursuit of the debts you owe them.
What are examples of harassment?
Under the FDCPA, some specific acts of banned harassment include:
- The use of obscenities or profanity in conversation
- Calling you repeatedly with the intent to scare, annoy or harass you
- Refusing to identify themselves when calling
- Threatening you with violence or harm
- Publicly shaming you through publishing lists of people who owe debts
Also, debt collectors cannot misrepresent themselves in any way. They cannot pretend to be an attorney. They cannot threaten you with arrest. They cannot make any threats that they have no intention of following through with. Likewise, they cannot threaten you with things they cannot legally do. Finally, they cannot misrepresent the amount that you owe.
You can sue under the FDCPA if you suffered through creditor harassment, too. If you win, the debt collector often must pay for your attorney’s fees. In some cases, they must also pay for your damages.