Creditor harassment: how many calls from a debt collector are considered harassment?
What is collection agency phone harassment (otherwise known as creditor harassment)? The Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) defines creditor harassment or abuse as offensive conduct or harassing phone calls from debt collectors.
What is considered creditor harassment?
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language, the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of Section 1681a(f) or 1681b(3) of this title.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Harassing phone calls from debt collectors, engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) Except as provided in Section 1692b of this title, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
If a debt collector violates your rights, you may have a claim of harassment under the FDCPA and thus be able to sue debt collectors for harassment.
Examples of Violations
Some examples of creditor harassment.
A collection agency is calling you without disclosing the name of the collection agency or the purpose of the call.
A collection agency calls you more than once within the same day without any valid, important reason to call you back within the same day.
Harassing phone calls from debt collectors after you notified the collection agency that you are not the debtor responsible for the debt.
A collection agency called you right after you hung up on the call with no invitation for a callback.
A collection agent is calling you and swearing at you in a way that makes you feel abused.
A collection agency repeatedly calls you on the same day with the intent to abuse, annoy, or harass you or anyone answering the phone.
The items listed above are a few practical examples of what is considered creditor harassment.
How many calls from a debt collector is considered harassment?
With regards to how many calls from a debt collector is considered harassment, several courts have regularly ruled that a high number of calls by themselves do not constitute harassment. Each situation is analyzed in order to determine if there is an intent for harassment.
In Tucker v. The CBE Group, Inc., the court ruled that 57 calls during the relevant 3-month period were not a violation. In Tucker, the debt collector never spoke to the debtor, was never asked to cease calling, and never called back on the same day it left a message. Id. at 2010 WL 1849034. The court observed:
“While the number of calls made during the relevant time period does seem somewhat high, the defendant only left a total of six messages, made no more than seven calls in a single day, and did not call back the same day after leaving a message. The evidence demonstrates that CBE placed each of its telephone calls with an intent to reach the debtor rather than an intent to harass the debtor.”
In Kuhn v. Account Control Tech., Inc., 865 F.Supp. 1443, 1453 (D.Nev.1994) the court ruled that calling a plaintiff twice within a five-minute period is actionable. The court also ruled that six calls to the debtor at her place of employment within a 24-minute period was a violation.
Finally in Joseph v. J. J. MacIntyre Companies, LLC, 238 F.Supp.2d 1158 (N.D. Cal. 2002) the court found potential liability where 200 calls were made over 19 months and on some days there were multiple calls made after plaintiff requested no further calls be made.
As you will note in each example, the courts issue different opinions based on the circumstances involved. If the calls are placed with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass then most courts will rule in favor of the plaintiff even without a high volume of calls.
If you feel you are being harassed by a debt collector you should reach out to an experienced attorney who will review your claim. You also have the option to sue debt collectors for harassment.
How to Stop Harassment
As an A+ accredited law firm, we will use our knowledge of both state and federal laws to work on your behalf and immediately stop the harassment stemming from the debt collection process.
If you are facing phone harassment we will send an FDCPA cease-and-desist letter to the company on your behalf to stop collector calls immediately. This should stop the harassment you face by cutting off every means of communication between you and the organization, and if you retain us as your legal counsel, all future correspondence between you and the agency will be directed to our office instead of to you.
Furthermore, if a collection has violated your consumer rights or any state law in the process of trying to recover debts from you, then you may be able to sue the debt collectors for harassment and be entitled to monetary compensation and statutory damages set at $1000 for the violation of the FDCPA and $500 – $1500 for the violation of the TCPA. The debt collector will also be made to pay your attorney’s fees and costs. We offer a free consultation. Call us today at 877-700-5790 to find out more about how to stop harassment and receive peace of mind.
CONSUMER RIGHTS LAW FIRM, PLLC
Consumer Rights Law Firm, PLLC is a law firm that specializes in helping clients who are facing harassment from debt collectors. If you suspect that your debt collection rights are being trampled upon, contact our office to begin the process to stop the harassment you may currently be receiving from debt collectors. Our office has been assisting consumers since 2010, and we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Call us at 877-700-5790 for immediate assistance.
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