Whether it’s considered “good debt” or “bad debt,” the truth is that any type of debt can cause many emotional and physical effects to an Auburn or Opelika resident.
Studies show what many of us already know: debt is about much more than money. While the stress of debt can be immense on its own, creditors have the potential to bring even more stress when they resort to unethical tactics to try and force you to make payments.
While creditors do possess a right to their collections activity, they are bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act with how they may collect it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always stop creditors, as debt collection harassment can even continue after you’ve filed for bankruptcy.
Here’s what you need to know about debt collection harassment and how to fight it with the help of David S. Clark, an experienced Auburn and Opelika bankruptcy attorney.
DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.
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What is Debt Collection Harassment?
Debt collection harassment, or creditor abuse, occurs when a collection agency that is owed money uses abusive collection practices to intimidate or force debtors to make a payment. Even without the money to pay off debt, a collection agency may act deceitfully in an attempt to collect anyway.
Ultimately, debt collection harassment can come from any kind of debt including (but not limited to): student loans, credit card payments, mortgages, and auto loans; but with over 140 billion in unpaid medical bills across the United States, collection agencies are most often chasing payments related to medical bills.
This is especially true in Lee County as the mean medical debt per person is at an incredibly high concentration between $994 and $3661.
Examples of Debt Collection Harassment
Despite what type of debt you may have, it is essential to know the signs of debt collection harassment and your rights as an Auburn or Opelika resident. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act debt collectors may not:
- Use or threaten the use of violence to harm you, your reputation, or your property
- Lie about who they are, the debt you owe, or what will happen if you fail to pay it
- Call you repeatedly with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass you
- Use obscene or profane language with the intent to intimidate or scare you
- Publish a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts (except to a consumer reporting agency)
What if a Creditor Contacts Me During Bankruptcy?
According to Section 524 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, no one can take action against you if your debt has been discharged through bankruptcy. Known as the “automatic stay”, this action is immediately ordered and enforced by the bankruptcy court.
Ultimately, the automatic stay makes it illegal for creditors to contact you about any discharged debt once you file for bankruptcy. This means creditors can’t call, email, visit, or do anything that attempts to collect debt from you.
It is important to note that although creditors can no longer contact you regarding discharged debts, not all debts are discharged through bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, there are times when creditors still contact you, which violates the protections of the automatic stay. If a creditor willfully violates the automatic stay with an intent to collect, the court can sanction the creditor with the help of your bankruptcy attorney.
How to fight Debt Collection Harassment
If you are being harassed by unethical debt collection tactics, it is important to seek the help of a trusted Auburn and Opelika bankruptcy attorney to fight on your behalf. David S. Clark has years of experience and understands how overwhelming debt, bankruptcy, and creditors can be.
If you are an Auburn or Opelika resident facing debt collection harassment, contact David S. Clark as soon as possible to discuss your situation in complete confidentiality.
DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.