What can I do about bill collector harassment in Las Vegas?
With Las Vegas unemployment now over 13%, Las Vegas residents dealing with debt problems are likely facing increasing harassment from debt collectors.
It’s important to know that there are laws that protect you from certain debt collection practices. And also that you have options for dealing with harassment by debt collectors.
First of all, you should always remember that there’s really nothing a debt collector can lawfully do to you to make you pay, other than suing you. Debt collectors love to say all kinds of things on the phone, that they’ll ruin your credit, get your driver’s license taken away and much worse. But the reality is that they can’t do any of these things. Their bark really is worse than their bite.
Second, there’s a federal law that specifically governs what debt collectors may and may not do. It’s called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692) and it prohibits debt collectors from harassing you, from using abusive language, from calling at all hours of day and night and a bunch of other things as well.
Third, here are a few things you can do to make a debt collector stop bothering you:
- Written request to stop contacting you
You can write a letter to a debt collector and request that they stop contacting you. Any attempt after that by the debt collector to contact you is considereed harassment. If you send a letter, it’s important to create a paper trail. Send the letter by certified mail (which costs a little extra) so have a documented record that the letter was in fact received by the debt collection agency.
- Get a lawyer
Once you hire a lawyer to represent you and notify the debt collection agency, all future communications must be made through your retained representative (i.e., your lawyer). Any attempt to contact you directly is a violation.
- Tell the debt collector you are recording the phone conversation
This is good for two purposes. One, it generally discourages debt collectors from saying a lot of the crazy things they say if they know they’re being recorded. Two, it’s good evidence to have for future use if you need to take legal action against them.
- Use the protections of the bankruptcy law
Under the bankruptcy law, you are protected by the automatic stay the moment you file your bankruptcy petition with the court. This means that from the moment you file until the end of the case, no creditors, including collection agencies, are permitted to even contact you to try and collect money.
- Initiate a lawsuit against the debt collection agency
An individual may actually sue a debt collection agency if the debt collector has broken any of the laws regarding debt collection practices. A powerful weapon for a debtor to have in its arsenal.
If you’re facing harassment by debt collectors and you have questions about your situation, you can always set up a free initial consultation with any good bankruptcy attorneys in Las Vegas. It’s important to talk with someone you trust when dealing with debt collection issues and Las Vegas bankruptcy help.
For more bankruptcy information in Las Vegas, contact us for a free debt consultation. We’re here to help you figure out all of your options.