Consumers in Iowa and across the country regularly face harassment by debt collectors. Regardless of whether you actually owe the debts for which you are being harassed, there are both state and federal laws in place to protect consumers from harassment and other unfair debt collection practices. Both the Iowa Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibit debt collectors from a variety of practices designed to harass, threaten, or otherwise intimidate a consumer. Additional laws also may provide protections to consumers.
When you are facing harassment from a debt collection company, you may be scared or feel overwhelmed. You should know that an Iowa consumer protection attorney can help you to exercise your rights under the law. In the meantime, you can arm yourself with information about fair debt collection practices in order to stop debt collector harassment.
Steps for Stopping Debt Collector Harassment
What steps can consumers take to stop debt collectors from harassing them through text messages, phone calls, and other forms of communication? An article in The Balance provides a list of tips for consumers who are facing debt collection harassment:
- Know what your rights are under state and federal law. As we mentioned above, there are numerous protections available for consumers, and we will provide you with some additional information about how these laws are designed to stop debt collector harassment.
- Keep records of all contact with debt collectors, including dates and times when you asked the debt collector to stop calling you at work, for example. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from calling at certain times of day, and from calling you at your workplace if you request that the contact ceases. Debt collectors are also prohibited from contacting debtors directly once they know that the debtor is represented by an attorney. By keeping detailed records, you can provide support for your case.
- Ask the debt collector to verify the debt in writing. You should specifically ask the debt collector for the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor to whom you owe the debt. The debt collector has a limited period of time to provide this information, and then you will usually have 30 days to dispute it.
- Ask the debt collector, in writing, to stop contacting you. You should include a request to stop contacting you at work.
Prohibited Practices Under the Law
To stop a debt collector from harassing you, it is essential to know your rights. State and federal laws prohibit debt collectors from doing all of the following:
- Repeatedly calling you with the intention to annoy, harass, or otherwise abuse you;
- Calling you or texting you without providing you with information about who the debt collector is;
- Lying to you about being an attorney or a law enforcement official;
- Lying to you about the amount of money you owe;
- Calling you at odd hours of the day, including very early in the morning or late at night;
- Threatening violence against you;
- Threatening to send you to jail;
- Using obscene or profane language;
- Publishing your name on a list of debtors; and
- Making threats that involve unlawful behavior or are acts that the debt collector does not intend to perform.
Contact an Iowa Consumer Protection Lawyer
When you are facing harassment from a debt collector, it is extremely important to seek advice from an experienced Iowa consumer protection attorney. An advocate at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP for more information.