When you get behind on your bill payments, you will notice that, all of a sudden, you experience a surge of telephone calls. The callers are either your creditors or agents acting on their behalf, urging you to bring your account current.
Of course, it is a rare event indeed when a consumer fails to pay their bill simply because it slipped their mind. In most, if not all, cases of nonpayment, it is due to a lack of funds because of some sort of hardship rather than a faulty memory.
You are protected from creditor abuse and harassment
Under § 806 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debtors are protected from harassment or abuse by their creditors. Specifically, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in actions that are abusive, oppressive or harassing to the debtors.
So, just what might indicate that a creditor had crossed the legal line?
Were you threatened?
Any threat of violence or other criminal actions that could harm a person, their property or reputation is prohibited.
Cursing is also disallowed
If your creditor used profane or obscene language when discussing your debt, that form of abuse is also illegal.
Can’t publicly list you for not paying your debts
While it is fair game to report you for nonpayment to a designated consumer reporting agency, any other public listing of you as a non-paying debtor is prohibited.
No harassing telephone calls
There are strict rules governing the frequency and timing of telephone calls in order to ensure that the ringing phone or telephone conversation does not abuse, harass or annoy the individual being called.
Other protections also exist
If you are being illegally hounded by creditors to repay your debts, regardless of the legitimacy of the debts, you may have additional protections under both federal and Illinois law.
Filing for bankruptcy may give you the financial relief you need when you are most vulnerable to creditor abuse. However, in some situations, it may be possible to take legal action against those creditors who violated the FDCPA in seeking payment from you. You may want to seek guidance and counsel when determining whether you have cause to seek civil redress in these matters.