What Qualifies as Debt Collection Harassment or Abuse?

Owing someone money is never a fun position to be in, but it’s definitely a common one. Americans now hold over $12.73 trillion dollars in consumer debt, with over $1 trillion of that from credit cards. The push to collect on debts has reached fever pitch, and this has spurred the creation of many illegitimate companies, who go outside of the legal bounds in order to coerce consumers to pay up. Whether you have old accounts for credit cards, medical bills, or housing payments, you’ve probably been contacted by a creditor or collection agency.

It may not be comfortable to talk to a creditor about your debt, but when do their practices go too far? How do you know if you have a case for debt collection harassment or abuse? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1977, to protect consumers from unfair and abusive collection tactics. It has been amended many times since then, but still stands as the main legal safeguard against unreasonable or threatening behaviors from creditors and collection agencies.

This important law says that debt collections are not allowed to harass, oppress, or abuse you in regards to your debts, nor anyone else that they speak to regarding your debts. There are two main areas in which collectors can be sued for violations of the FDCPA:


A debt collector is not allowed to misrepresent themselves or your debts, and this covers a variety of false, misleading, and deceptive collection practices. This category may include things like:

  •       Callers refusing to give their name or identify the company they represent
  •       Making false threats against you or your loved ones
  •       Claiming to be an attorney or other legal professional
  •       Threatening to do things they cannot legally do, or have no intention of doing


If you feel like you are not being heard or respected when it comes to your debts, you may be facing debt collection harassment. Some common examples of harassing behavior include:

  •       Repeated phone calls or texts, meant to annoy or abuse you
  •       Threats of violence or other kind of harm
  •       Obscene, abusive, or vulgar language
  •       Sharing your information publicly, to shame you into paying your debts
  •       Contacting you in the middle of the night, or at your place or work, if you have requested that they not

Debt collection abuse is not something to take lightly, so if you suspect that you are being victimized by a creditor, you’re entitled to legal help! Contact Martin & Bontrager today and request your free consultation!