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When debt collection is considered harassment

Kentucky residents who owe consumer debt might be interested to learn what protections they have under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The federal legislation, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, sets forth a set of rules that debt collectors are obligated to follow while attempting to collect an unpaid debt or obtain information about someone who owes a debt.

When a collection agency or lawyer makes contact with a debtor, they are required to do so at a convenient time and place. If the collector calls early in the morning or late at night, this behavior could be considered creditor harassment. A collector is also not allowed to contact a debtor at work if it has been told not to do so.

Even if a debt collector has made contact with the debtor at a convenient time and place, the debtor can put an end to the calls by sending a written request to the collection agency. The debt collector will then only be allowed to notify the debtor that either further contact about the debt will stop or that a lawsuit or other specific action is planned. A collection agency will not be allowed to garnish a person's bank account unless a judgment has been obtained and a garnishment order issued.

Under the FDCP, there are some things debt collectors are not permitted to do under any circumstances. Making threats, using foul language or calling a person repeatedly in an effort to annoy them are some examples of unlawful creditor harassment. If an individual has been the victim of repeated threats from a debt collection agency, a lawyer may be able to help seek an end to the harassment.

Source: The Federal Trade Commission, "Debt Collection", September 06, 2014

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