Dealing With Creditor Harassment

As Oklahoma bankruptcy attorneys, we help people who, for one reason or another, have fallen behind on their debts and financial obligations. Many of these have experienced the nightmare of being hounded by unrelenting creditors and debt collection agencies, who often use highly aggressive and invasive tactics as a way of intimidating consumers into paying their outstanding debt.

While these agencies may feel justified by going to any lengths to ensure a debt is paid, there are legal limits in how they may deal with consumers. The following outlines your rights when it comes to creditor harassment, as well as some actions you can take to regain control of your finances.

Protecting the Rights Of Consumers

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides guidelines to prevent credit and debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive collection practices. Actions that are prohibited include:

  • Harassment: This may involve using threats or intimidation, publishing a list of names of people who are behind in payments, using the phone to repeatedly annoy consumers, or using obscene or profane language.
  • Making false statements: In their effort to collect a debt, collections companies cannot threaten you with legal action they cannot or do not intend to take, misrepresent who they work for, imply that forms they send you are legal documents or falsely claim you have committed a crime.
  • Using unfair practices: Debt collectors are prohibited from charging interests and fees not agreed to in your credit agreement, may not deposit post-dated checks early, or claim rights to property they are otherwise not entitled to, such as saying they will seize your car or accounts when unauthorized to do so.

 

Collection agencies are also prohibited from contacting your friends, family members, coworkers, or neighbors as part of their collection efforts. If a friend or relative answers a call from a collection agency that is meant for you, the agency may not disclose any information about the debt.

Dealing with Overwhelming Debts

There are a variety of reasons honest and otherwise financially responsible people fall behind in payments on debts. It may have been a job loss or a reduction in earnings that created problems, or something more personal, such as a divorce, poor health, or the death of a family member. For whatever the reason, it is important to know that help is available.   

At Deborah Brooks & Associates, P.C., we can counsel you on whether bankruptcy may be an option in your case. Regulated by federal laws and filed through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in your local jurisdiction, bankruptcy provides a way to get a fresh start by providing relief from most debts. Depending on your situation, there are two types of bankruptcy you may wish to consider:

  • Chapter 7, which allows those who have lost a job or have limited income to liquidate assets to satisfy certain creditor claims;
  • Chapter 13, which allows wage earners to keep certain property, such as your home or car while eliminating some debts and restructuring others.

We are here to help

To discuss the options available to help stop creditor harassment and to regain control of your debts, call or contact our bankruptcy attorney online to request a free and confidential consultation in our Oklahoma City or Lawton office. Call our office today (405) 840-6363.