Harassing Phone Calls
Harassing phone calls have become so commonplace that the federal government had to create a national do not call list which prohibits telemarketers and other companies from calling consumers who have placed their number on the list. Creditors and debt collectors, who are exempt from the list, appear to be the source of a large number of the harassing phone calls that consumers receive. But there is good news; while they are exempt from the do not call list requirements, they may be in violation other federal or state law, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA) when placing their collection calls.
Harassing Phone Calls and the FDCPA
The FDCPA is a federal act created to help prevent debt collectors from using unfair, harassing, and abusive practices when attempting to collect on a debt. The Act considers harassing phone calls by debt collectors to be ones where the collector:
- Calls before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Uses profane or obscene language
- Allows the telephone to ring continuously
- Threatens to use violence against the consumer
- Uses abusive language
Other collection tactics may also be considered harassing under the Act and this is not a complete list of the actions that are prohibited.
Harassing Phone Calls and the RFDCPA
The RFDCPA is a California law that mirrors the FDCPA, but unlike the FDCPA, it covers original creditors and not just debt collectors. For California residents this means that not only can you make debt collectors stop the harassing phone calls, but you can stop the original creditor from doing so as well.
How to Stop Harassing Phone Calls from Debt Collectors
Many consumers who are receiving harassing phone calls from a debt collector simply avoid answering the phone if they know it is the collector calling or if the call comes from a number they do not recognize. This may not be a very good tactic though when dealing with a debt collector, as they will just continue to call. The best way to stop harassing phone calls from a debt collector is to notify them in writing that you want them to stop attempting to collect the debt. You should keep a copy of the letter and also send a copy to the Federal Trade Commission at 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20850. Once the debt collector has received the letter they may only contact you once more in order to let you know that they received your letter, will stop contacting you, and what other action they intend to take. If the harassing phone calls continue after you have sent the collector a letter asking them to stop, you may want to contact a FDCPA attorney for advice on how to proceed.
If you are getting harassing phone calls from a creditor or debt collector, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.