Debt collectors can be relentless when trying to reach consumers. The law precludes debt collectors from calling during certain times of the day, but what about on holidays?
The good news is that federal law has put into place certain protections to help eliminate harassment from third-party debt collectors. These protections are under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and prohibit the following:
- Repeated phone calls annoying, abusing or harassing the debtor or anyone answering the phone;
- Use of obscene or profane language in these communications;
- Threats of violence or causing harm to the debtor or other person on the phone;
- Publishing a list of individuals who refuse to pay debts, not including reporting the information to a credit reporting company;
- Not disclosing the debt collector’s information when communicating with someone;
- Contacting third-parties connected to the debtor and giving them information regarding the debt and/or why they are calling;
- Contacting the debtor at work or showing up at the debtor’s work.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector cannot communicate with a consumer during what is deemed to be an unusual time or place or at a time or place that is either known or should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. These times include the early morning hours and late at night.
However, whether a debt collector can call someone on a holiday tends to be more of a gray area. For the most part, certain holidays are standard knowledge. In the U.S., these holidays include Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. The problem is that not all countries recognize the same holidays.
The FDCPA puts a limit on the frequency of calls to consumers. A debt collector cannot continually call to the point where the communication is deemed to be harassment. If he or she wants the calls to stop, the best course of action is to send a letter to the third-party debt collecting requesting that the calls stop. At that point, the creditor must cease calling the consumer. This does not mean that they still cannot pursue collection on the debt, but they will need to do so through formal legal proceedings.
If a consumer wants a debt collector to cease calling him or her on holidays, it is best to submit the formal, written request to cease communications. Send this letter via certified mail and keep a copy of this letter for your records. Alternatively, if the consumer lawfully does owe the debt, he or she can work out an arrangement for a payment plan with the creditor, outlining the terms of this plan in writing.
Lastly, if the communications continue to the point where the collector is calling the consumer on holidays, an attorney’s assistance may be needed. Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws. Recently, our firm’s motion was granted by a Florida judge in a case that held the creditor in contempt of court for violating the automatic stay in a Miami bankruptcy case. The Order directed the creditor to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of the court. The creditor in this case was also required to pay attorneys’ fees for our firm having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay to protect our client.
If you are dealing with a creditor you think may have violated the automatic stay, contact your attorney immediately. An experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney will know whether the contact was innocent in nature or a willful violation worth pursuing.
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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.