Anyone in New Jersey that has ever been unable to pay a bill has most likely been subjected to numerous phone calls from debt collectors. It may be possible to understand their persistence, but just how much of their rudeness, threats and contact with family or employers that consumers are required to deal with is limited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. There are certain behaviors that are not acceptable under the act and may be used to stop harassing phone calls from creditors.
When it comes to contacting an employer, there are limitations to what information a debt collector is allowed to obtain. If a debt collector threatens to call a consumer’s employer to tell them that he or she owes a debt, the consumer may remind the person on the phone that they are only allowed to confirm employment and request contact information. A debt collector is not even allowed to tell a consumer’s employer that they work for a creditor collecting a debt.
Many debt collectors will also threaten to call family members. Unfortunately, preventing this may not be possible, but there are limitations to this contact as well. Debt collectors are only allowed to contact a consumer’s relative once, in order to request contact information. No other contact is permitted under the FDCPA.
Unfortunately, the limits of how rude a debt collector can be are not as well defined. Consumers in New Jersey can either read the act themselves or contact someone for advice as to what their rights are with regard to contact with debt collectors. It may or may not be possible to stop harassing phone calls from creditors completely without resolving the debt or filing for bankruptcy. During a bankruptcy, creditors and debt collection agencies are not permitted to contact a consumer.
Source: consumeraffairs.com, “Debt collectors: abusive or just aggressive?” Mark Huffman, April 1, 2013