I want to talk to you today about five things you need to know about harassment by debt collectors, harassment on the phone.
- Thing number one. Debt collectors may not call you at any unusual time and place. Unusual means before 8 a.m. or after 9 a.m.
- Thing number two debt collectors may not call you at inconvenient times. That means if you tell them, look, folks, I sleep during the day. Don’t call me during the day. Call me at night. Or, I have a baby, or I pick up my son, or I’m at work at a particular time and they continue calling you at these times, those are violations. Those can be actionable.
- The third thing you need to know about harassment on the phone by debt collectors is that they can call your cell phone with your consent if you provided your cell phone to the original creditor or to this debt collector and as part of the transaction then they can call your cell phone.
- But then there’s a fourth thing. If they are calling your cell phone using an automated dialer and the computers are dialing you 5-6 times a day, and you did not give them your number, that’s a violation of the FDCPA and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the TCPA.
- Finally, the fifth thing that you need to know is that debt collectors can’t hound you.
Now the law uses these fancy words continuously, repeatedly. What is continuously and repeatedly? Courts have struggled with this. Courts you know, five calls a day, a hundred calls in three weeks, three calls a day, and 300 calls in five months. Courts have gone this way on whether that’s a violation of the law. What I like to think about as hounding. Are they hounding you?
Did they speak with you in the morning and keep calling you five times a day that day or that week. Have you already told them this week that you don’t have any money and are they continuing to hound you on the phone? So if any one of these five things happening to you, you may have a right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to sue the debt collector for the harassment, for the hounding, for the calling you at inconvenient times, for them if they’re calling you at unusual times, for the calling to you on your cell phone. Don’t take it on the chin.