Consumer Debt Protection in Pennsylvania
No matter how much debt you have, you still have rights and should not be subject to harassment from debt collectors. Many borrowers are shamed into accepting unlawful, harassing collection methods as a part of their life. However, constant phone calls and abusive collection practices are unlawful. If you’ve been subjected to illegal collection techniques, you may be entitled to compensation.
Debt can accumulate through no fault of the borrower. Unemployment, medical bills, and unexpected emergencies are all common reasons people have debt they can’t afford to pay. Borrowers are frequently made to feel irresponsible and humiliated by debt collectors, even if the debt was due to unavoidable circumstances.
Debt collectors must follow strict guidelines under state and federal law; if they don’t, you may be entitled to compensation. Debt collectors also report to credit bureaus, but can you trust them to report your information accurately? Your credit score affects your ability to get a mortgage, rent a home, or even get a job. If there are inaccuracies on your credit report, Kelly Adams can help you find them and correct them.
Debt Collector Harassment
Some of the basic rules debt collectors are required to follow include:
- Not calling before 8 AM or after 9 PM
- Not speaking to you on the phone more than once per week
- Attempting to communicate in a specific way (such as by phone) after you have asked them not to
- Continuing to communicate with you after they know an attorney represents you.
In addition, debt collectors are forbidden from the following types of behavior:
- Harassment, which includes threats of violence, obscene or profane language, or repeatedly calling to annoy you.
- Unfair or unconscionable acts, such as attempting to collect an amount greater than you owe, depositing a post-dated check prematurely, emailing you at an employer-provided address, or contacting you publicly on social media.
- False statements, such as implying they are an attorney, are affiliated with the government, or that you have committed a crime.
Collectors who violate any of these rules may be subject to sanctions, and you may be entitled to compensation as a subject of their illegal collection practices and harassment. You should discuss the specific actions of your debt collector with an attorney like Kelly Adams.
If A Collection Agency Has Contacted You
If you receive communication from a debt collector, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends gathering the following information:
- The debt collector’s identity, including their name, address, and phone number
- The amount of the debt, including fees and interest
- What the debt is for, and when it was incurred
- The name of the original creditor
- Information about whether you or someone else may owe the debt
If you believe a collector is trying to collect a debt you don’t owe, or if you want the collector to stop contacting you, you should notify them in writing. The CFPB provides some sample letters you can use for these situations.
If the collection agency disregards your request to cease contact or continues trying to collect a debt you don’t owe, you should contact an attorney experienced in consumer debt protection, like Kelly Adams. You may be entitled to compensation.
Credit Report Errors
Everyone should monitor their credit report to check for debts that don’t belong to them and inaccuracies reported by creditors. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that 1 in 4 people find mistakes on their credit reports, and they recommend visiting AnnualCreditReport.com for a free credit report. You can request one free report from each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) every 12 months. Currently, Equifax is offering six free credit reports per year until 2026.
You can dispute errors yourself using this guide from the FTC, but it may be easier and more effective to have an attorney dispute the error for you. If a credit bureau or creditor will not fix incorrect information, Attorney Adams can help you file a lawsuit to force them to change it and recover damages.
Consult With an Advocate About Your Rights
It is not usual for people to feel like there is nothing they can do about abusive debt collection. Consumers with debt may feel helpless: unable to afford an attorney, and unaware of the laws that protect them. The rules that protect consumers typically require collection agencies or credit bureaus to pay attorney fees if they are found to be engaging in illegal practices. Attorney Kelly Adams offers free consultations and may be able to take your case on at no cost to you.
Call (610) 222-6122 today to schedule a consultation with Attorney Adams to discuss your situation and put an end to illegal, harassing debt collection.