Are you struggling to meet your debt obligations? Do you have debt collectors hounding you for payment? If you do, you are not alone. Many Wisconsin residents are in your same position.
Debt collectors often take extreme measures in order to collect money they say you owe. You may feel powerless to fight against them. However, you do not have to take the abuse and harassment. There are things you can do to stop it.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA was passed to help consumers keep debt collectors in check. Some collectors really do go too far in their attempts to collect. Now, if they do, consumers can pursue legal actions against them in order to seek compensation and stop the harassment.
The FDCPA has set certain ground rules by which debt collectors must abide. Some things they must do include:
- Properly and truthfully identify themselves
- Send notification of debt collection
- Provide information about the debt
- Verify the debt
- Inform consumers of their rights
Then there is a long list of things debt collectors cannot do. These include:
- Call at all hours of the day or night
- Reach out to consumers after bankruptcy has been filed
- Contact consumers at their work
- Use foul language
- Threaten arrest
- Report or threaten to report false information to credit agencies
There are many more, but the gist of it is they have to be truthful and upfront in their words and actions.
What to do
If you find yourself at the mercy of debt collectors, there may be things you can do to stop it. First, if you owe outstanding debts and are unable to pay them, there are debt relief options that may help you get the relief you need — such as bankruptcy. If you pursue a bankruptcy filing, debt collectors and other creditors no longer have the right to contact you seeking payment. This is something known as an automatic stay.
Second, as previously mentioned, you may pursue legal actions against those behind the harassment. If a court finds that a debt collector has broken any standards set in the FDCPA, you may be awarded compensation and the collector or his or her employer may have to pay fines.
Do not go it alone
Monetary stress is enough to send some people over the edge. Dealing with debt collectors adds to the frustration. You do not have to go it alone. Help is available to get you through this difficult chapter in your life.