What constitutes debt collection harassment?

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What constitutes debt collection harassment?

My wife got a credit card 4 years ago and they sent the debt to collections. This agency has contacted my brother, my parents, my in-laws and have been harassing them. Today the company called my wife’s work harassing the HR department, her boss and her continuously, calling them back several times.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This *may* be illegal. The key issue is whether the debt collector is a third party agency (i.e. a collections agency which is not part of the actual creditor, such as their own internal collections or receivable department) or whether it is part of the credit card company. If it's a third-party debt collector, what they can do, what they can say, and who they can contact is limited by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)--look up the Act to see how it applies to your situation. (Note: to invoke the full  protection of the act, you generally have to request that the collector stop communications, in writing.) If, however, it's the creditor's own staff or department doing this, then your protection is much more limited--the law gives creditors considerable leeway in collecting their own debts--and they may be able to do this.


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