While creditors do have the right to contact you about resolving debt issues, they must follow specific state and federal guidelines when doing so. Unfortunately, some creditors try to use intimidating or dishonest tactics in an attempt to collect.
This type of behavior is often unethical and illegal under both the Wisconsin Consumer Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
What is creditor harassment?
State and federal law protect you and your family from harassing, threatening or abusive behavior on the part of debt collectors. Common examples of prohibited practices include:
- Using obscene, demeaning or threatening language
- Calling so frequently as to be harassing or calling at unreasonable hours
- Threatening you with criminal prosecution
- Giving false or misleading information about their identity
- Misrepresenting the debt you owe
- Publishing information about your debt
It may also be illegal for a creditor to contact a third party regarding your debt, including a family member, neighbor or employer.
What should I do about creditor harassment?
Creditor harassment not only creates emotional distress for you and your family, it may violate your rights. you can report the creditor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
If you believe a debt collector’s behavior is unethical or abusive, make sure to keep detailed records of your communications, including phone conversations, letters, documents and emails. You may be able to bring charges against the collector.
In addition to stopping harassing calls, you may be able to pursue compensation for financial losses or emotional damage and recover collateral property you surrendered due to the creditor’s illegal actions.