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Can they stop harassing phone calls from creditors in New Jersey?

Many people in New Jersey have been the victim of harassing phone calls from bill collectors. Up until now, the only real defense against these phone calls was to stop answering the phone. Now, the federal government may help consumers stop harassing phone calls from creditors.

The federal government is creating a new watchdog agency called The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. Calls from collection agencies can be annoying, but they are legal. The mission of the CFPB will be to crack down on aggressive, rude, or belligerent calls from creditors or collection agencies. There are bad apples in every industry, and debt collectors are no exception.

In some instances, consumers have even been threatened, and some statements creditors have made are downright deplorable. One woman who had recently lost her son received a call from a bill collector who made reference to the funeral home digging up her son's body and putting his body "outside her house" since she hadn't paid her bill. In some cases, people get calls that are meant for someone else, but the collection agency refuses to believe them. The CFPB will be policing the large collection firms in the country to make sure that these types of activities are avoided.

However, the CFPB won't be eliminating calls from creditors. New Jersey consumers who are unable to pay their bills and want to stop harassing phone calls from creditors may find that filing for bankruptcy protection is the best option for them. Calls from creditors have to cease during a bankruptcy proceeding, which can help reduce a filer's stress and give them time to deal with their financial situation. Bankruptcy often offers a fresh start to consumers that they would not otherwise receive.

Source: CBS Miami, "New Watchdog Group To Help Stop Harassing Debt Collectors," Brian Andrews, Dec. 11, 2012

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