As the economy continues to struggle and unemployment is high debt collectors are becoming more desperate, and often turn to illegal and abusive practices in an attempt to get a payment. Many consumers have hit tough financial times, and money is tight. Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet, and there is nothing left over at the end of the month to pay on past due bills and old debts. A large number of debt collectors and debt collection agencies have been using illegal, harassing, and abusive tactics in an attempt to collect, and this has led to record numbers of consumer complaints in the state of Ohio and the rest of the USA. Some debt collectors will become abusive if you do not agree to make a payment, and there have even been cases of debt collectors threatening physical violence, jail or prison, or using other illegal collection methods which are not allowed by law.
The FTC has documented a drastic increase in the number of complaints by consumers alleging debt collection abuse and harassment. In 2009 alone the number of complaints that this agency received increased by a whopping 50%, and the estimates are that this number will continue to rise in 2011 and 2012. The biggest complaint category received by the FTC involves debt collectors who call repeatedly during the day, with little time in between calls and the intent to harass the consumer until you pay just to make them go away. The second most common complaint the FTC receives concerns debt collectors who use language that is abusive, obscene, or inappropriate.
One of the most alarming complaints concerns debt collectors who use the threat of physical violence, or actually use physical violence and intimidation, and there have been debt collectors who have shown up at the home of the consumer and actually perpetrated physical violence. Some collection agencies will call outside of the set allowed hours, which are between 8 am and 9 pm, some try to collect a larger amount than the debt owed, and some even go so far as to threaten you with jail time or the seizure of your property. These tactics are abusive and illegal, and so is calling you at work or telling any third party about the debts that you owe. Many debt collectors use these tactics even though they are not allowed or legal, in the hopes to collect and the belief that there will be no penalties for breaking the law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which first took effect in 1977, outlines the allowed collection practices as well as those practices which are illegal and abusive. This law covers all of the practices listed and makes it clear that debt collectors can not engage in this behavior, but for debt collectors it is a small risk because many consumers do not understand their rights and will not complain or file suit. If you have been harassed or abused by a debt collector or debt collection agency there are steps you can take. You can sue the individual or business in either federal or state court, and you are entitled to fines and penalties, damages, costs associated with the lawsuit, and even attorney costs if you prevail.
Filing for bankruptcy is another way to stop harassing or abusive debt collectors. Once your bankruptcy petition is filed an automatic stay goes into effect, and debt collectors can not contact you or try to collect until the bankruptcy case is resolved. As soon as the debt collector is notified that you have filed for bankruptcy all contact must cease, and this includes being given this information by the consumer as long as the docket number is also provided. If a debt collector continues with collection activities after receiving notice of your bankruptcy filing then the debt collector is in contempt of court and can face harsh penalties including large financial fines.
You do not have to put up with illegal, abusive, or harassing debt collectors, there are solutions available that can help. Bankruptcy may or may not be the right answer. Choosing an experienced consumer debt consolidation and bankruptcy lawyer can help you find the solutions you are looking for, and the debt collection relief that you want and need. You deserve a fresh financial start and a brighter future. The bankruptcy attorneys at Richard West Law can help provide a free debt consolidation consultation to help you find the right answer for your unique debt problems and circumstances. Visit https://www.debtfreeohio.com or call (513)771-8700 or (937)748-1749 to get the answers you want, and the financial relief you are looking for.