Stressed man with credit card and many bills on floor

What You Need to Know About Creditor Harassment

Law Office of Robert L. Firth Nov. 1, 2022

If you are drowning in debt and unable to pay off your bills, those persistent calls and threatening letters from creditors and debt collectors are not making your life easier. Creditor harassment is a real thing, and it can do significant damage to your emotional and psychological health.   

That is why, as a debtor, you need to know what creditors and debt collectors can and cannot do. Most importantly, you need to understand your rights to eliminate uncertainty when dealing with debt collectors and put an end to creditor harassment once and for all.    

At the Law Office of Robert L. Firth, our attorney has decades of experience handling debt collector harassment claims in Cathedral City and other parts of California. Our unparalleled dedication to clients and tenacious approach to representation has helped many debtors stop harassing and abusive debt collection calls.   

With an office in Cathedral City, we serve clients throughout the state of California, including Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, and the Coachella Valley.   

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)   

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides the most fundamental protections to consumers against harassing, abusive, and otherwise unfair debt collection practices. The federal law outlines what third-party debt collectors can and cannot do when attempting to collect debts on behalf of creditors or other parties.  

The FDCPA restricts the ways collectors can contact debtors, the time of day they can call debtors, and the number of times they can contact a debtor, among other things. The primary purpose of the FDCPA is to prevent debt collectors from using harassing, oppressing, or abusive practices when attempting to collect debts. Some examples of actions that may constitute creditor harassment include:  

  • Using profane or obscene language  

  • Making threats of violence 

  • Making repeated phone calls with the intent to annoy or harass the debtor  

  • Disclosing information about your debt to the public 

  • Claiming that you will be arrested and imprisoned if you do not pay the debt 

There are certain things debt collectors can do despite the generous protections provided by the FDCPA. For example, debt collectors can call you or send you letters demanding payment, though federal law restricts those actions. However, calling or sending you letters can be considered creditor harassment if you have filed for bankruptcy because a bankruptcy filing triggers what is known as an “automatic stay.”  

If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can file a complaint and sue the collector. If you win a creditor harassment lawsuit, the collector will be ordered to pay you damages and reimburse you for your attorney’s fees and legal expenses.  

California Law Addressing Creditor Harassment 

California law addressing creditor harassment includes most of the protections provided by the FDCPA. Unlike the federal law, California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is not limited to protecting consumers from third-party debt collectors. California’s law also protects consumers from all individuals and entities involved in debt collection, including: 

  • Original creditors 

  • Collection agencies 

  • Repossession agencies 

  • Debt collection attorneys 

The Rosenthal Act prohibits parties involved in debt collection from engaging in abusive, deceptive, harassing, or misleading collection practices. 

Taking Action After Experiencing Creditor Harassment 

If you believe that a debt collector or another party engaged in debt collection is harassing you, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Keep records of your contact with the debt collector to document their harassing or abusive behavior.  

If creditor harassment does not stop, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option to put an end to this nightmare once and for all. An automatic stay goes into effect when you file for bankruptcy. This injunction prohibits creditors and debt collectors from continuing any collection attempts, including making phone calls and sending letters.  

Filing for bankruptcy can accomplish two things: give you a fresh start and help you get relief from debt collectors.  

Turn to the Law Office of Robert L. Firth for Legal Help 

Our trusted attorney at the Law Office of Robert L. Firth helps people fight back against abusive and harassing creditors and debt collectors. If you are fed up with persistent calls and threatening letters, we can make those calls and letters stop and help you pursue compensation if you have become a victim of harassment. Contact our office to discuss your best course of action to stop harassing debt collection practices. Our team proudly serves clients in Cathedral City, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, and throughout the Coachella Valley, California.