The Law Office of Paul Mankin

Americans are Drowning in Debt, and the Debt Collectors are Loving It!

Americans are Drowning in Debt, and the Debt Collectors are Loving It!

No one should live in fear of the telephone ringing, but many Americans do, and a growing number of outrageous debt collectors love it! With soaring healthcare costs, student loans being at their highest level ever and credit card balances rising at an alarming rate, Americans are drowning in debt. And with this mountain of debt come the debt collectors. Past due medical bills, delinquent mortgages, and over the limit credit cards are worrisome, but when the collection calls start, that worry and can reach a whole new level.

Imagine answering the phone to someone cursing at you, calling you names, and threatening to have you arrested and put in jail, in an attempt to bully you into paying a bill you do not have the money to pay or do not even owe. In its segment Outrageous Calls from Debt Collectors, ABC News report reveals several debt collectors doing just that. In the report, one collector actually showed up on a consumer’s doorstep and then became enraged when he failed to answer the door. Watch the segment to hear his unbelievable attempt to collect on a debt.

Another ABC segment about debt collectors, When a Stranger Calls, included more real calls from debt collectors; this time the collectors are impersonating law enforcement officers and telling consumers they are “going ahead with the warrant”.  One collector was even recorded threatening to murder the consumer if he did not pay his bill. The report features a debt collector who claims to “mostly” work within the bounds of the law. When asked about the way he phrased the legality of his collection attempts, John Anderson said that while he was not allowed to call a consumer after 9:00 p.m., he might push it a little and call at 9:15 p.m. However, ABC uncovers something much more sinister in Mr. Anderson’s debt collection practices.

Debt collector’s and creditor’s behavior does not have to rise to the level of outrageousness that that is featured in these two reports in order to violate the law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA) were created to help ensure that debt collectors and creditors do not resort to the abusive practices seen in these two ABC features. The two Acts prohibit debt collectors and creditors from using abusive and unfair practices in order to collect on a debt. This specifically includes:

  • Calling a consumer before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
  • Using profane language
  • Threatening to do anything illegal
  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer
  • Using language that is abusive or threatens to harm a consumer or his/her property
  • Repeatedly calling a telephone number
  • Falsely implying that failure to pay a bill will result in arrest

This is not an all inclusive list. If a creditor or debt collector is harassing you, click here or more information about what is prohibited by the FDCPA and RFDCPA.