Many people living in Illinois and around the country have been riding waves of uncertainty during the economic turbulence of the past two years. Adjusting to daily life can take many forms, whether it is downsizing to make ends meet, accepting government assistance when it is available, or taking on an extra job.
But some end up going into debt when a crisis hits without warning. When this happens, people need to place their needs or those of a loved one first. Making payments on credit card debt, car loans, or a mortgage can become very stressful, especially when creditors begin sending threatening letters or repeated calls. When creditors show up at work, however, this becomes a bridge too far.
Fair debt collection practices
Most of us would prefer not to be in debt, but it becomes unbearable when businesses start make harassing calls and threaten wage garnishment and other punitive actions. Fortunately, there are consumer protection laws that address this kind of behavior.
Under the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to any third-party collection agency, and prohibits activities such as:
- calling during restricted hours or after a consumer has sent written notice stating that they wish no further contact with the entity
- contacting the consumer without providing validation of their debt, misrepresenting debt, making threats, or using abusive or profane language
- reporting false information on the individual’s credit report or advertising the sale of debt
- contacting a consumer who has legal representation
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a federal law restricts the use of robocalls from debt collectors by making it illegal to:
- call during restricted hours or if the individual opted out of calls from a certain entity
- send unsolicited fax messages
- withhold the name of the entity or the source they are representing or their contact information
Filing a claim
Residents of Cook County and surrounding areas should not have to suffer from the harassment and intimidation tactics of creditors whose main objective is their bottom line. While bankruptcy is a viable option that stops creditor calls while the procedure of dissolving or managing debt is underway, it is also possible to fight back by filing a lawsuit against the debt collection agency.
While every case is different, if there is clear evidence that the company has violated federal consumer protections laws, it is possible to pursue a claim that not only stops the harassment but will also award compensation to the injured party for wage garnishment, lost wages, or emotional and physical distress.