If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you know it can be a nightmare. Fortunately, there are legal protections and options available to you.
One of the most important laws protecting against creditor harassment is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. This federal law places strict limits on what debt collectors may do when they are contacting debtors. For example, it limits the ways and hours debt collectors may contact you, as well as what they can say when they talk to you.
While the FDCPA protects you, debt collectors don’t necessarily follow it to the letter until you make them do so. This means if you are getting harassing phone calls or other contacts from debt collectors, you can make them stop by writing them a letter requesting that they do not contact you.
This does not necessarily mean that you do not have to pay the debt, but it does mean that the debt collectors must stop harassing you. If they continue, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission.
Debt relief and filing for bankruptcy protection
If you are unable to pay back the debt. you can work with a professional to find ways to reduce your debt. In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or otherwise relieve your debt burden.
Perhaps the most powerful legal form of debt relief is through the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. After you file for personal bankruptcy, the court will issue a stay — an order telling creditors not to contact you. Instead, their communications must go through the court.