What You Need to Know
About Creditor Harassment
April 19, 2022
There are many unappealing aspects of being in debt. As if the stress of being in dire financial straits wasn’t enough, having to deal with harassment from creditors makes an already bad situation that much worse. You need to understand that you have rights. When you start working with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, you can stand up to your creditors, come up with a long-term plan, and stop living in fear.
The Orantes Law Firm has decades of experience in dealing with creditor harassment and protecting the rights of consumers all across Southern California. We understand how creditor harassment can impact every aspect of your life, adding stress and making it harder to find solutions. That’s why we fight for our clients in Los Angeles, Irvine, and throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Debt collectors are bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is a federal law that governs how they can go about collecting payments on your debt. Statutorily, the FDCPA penalizes businesses that violate debt collection regulations. Harassment, obscene language, and lies are all examples of inappropriate collection practices.
The FDCPA doesn’t apply to a credit card company reaching out to collect a late payment; instead, it refers to collection agencies trying to collect payments or repossessing assets.
California consumers are not only protected federally by the FDCPA but they are also protected by a California state law known as the “Rosenthal Act.” The Rosenthal Act, while affording consumers the same substantive protections of the FDCPA — including those dealing with false misrepresentations, threats, harassment, and unwarranted communications with persons other than the actual debtor — expanded the definition of “debt collector ” to include original creditors.
This means that collection agencies, original creditors, and repossession agencies must all adhere to laws that prohibit abusive debt collection practices. If the debt gets to be more than four years old, then agencies are not allowed to continue trying to contact you. This statute of limitation is thanks to the Rosenthal Act. If you decide to file a lawsuit against a creditor for harassment, there is a one-year statute of limitations.
Even with these protections in place, many creditors still opt to engage in harassing, abusive, and misleading behavior. If you are one of the many California consumers facing creditor harassment, you have options when it comes to fighting back.
Under the FDCPA, a consumer who has been the victim of prohibited collections practices can seek up to $1,000 in damages from bad-acting creditors for each violation, plus reasonable attorney’s fees. And, they don’t have to show actual damages in order to recover.
Another option is to file for bankruptcy, which will trigger an “automatic stay” of all debt collection attempts. After the automatic stay, creditors are no longer permitted to continue contacting you, garnishing your wages, or doing anything else to try to collect those debts.
If the creditor tries any collection actions after the automatic stay, you can contact the bankruptcy court for support.
How The Orantes Law Firm Can Help
Few things are more frightening and overwhelming than being harassed by a collection agency. At The Orantes Law Firm, we are ready to help you put an end to creditor harassment. We represent clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, offering counsel in both English and Spanish. Contact The Orantes Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more.