Turning the Tables: Three Ways to Pursue Action against a Debt Collector

By Robert Jacovetti

When a person is going through bankruptcy, or at least right before they file, they’re often dogged by incessant calls from debt collectors at all hours of the day to the point where they just want to change their phone number and ensure a new identity. You have enough to worry about without hearing the ring off the hook 24 hours per day. While many of these debt collectors are admittedly just doing what they’re told, their behavior often constitutes borderline harassment. How many times have you said, “I wish I could take them to court for this!” Luckily for you, there are few instances in which this is possible.

Calling Outside of the Legal Window of Time

Debt collectors are forbidden from calling debtors outside of the house of 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Calls outside of this timeframe violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It is also against the law for collectors to call outside times that the debtor has documented as inconvenient during previous phone conversations.

Discussing Debts with Others

You may have taken a call from a collection agent from a friend or loved one and have been told it was regarding a “personal” business matter. The reason for this ambiguous language is because debt collectors are forbidden from disclosing the nature of a debtor’s finances to anyone but their spouse. This is another violation of the FDCPA.

Calling after You’ve Retained an Attorney

One more violation of the FDCPA is when a debt collector calls even though they know you’ve retained an attorney. This is almost like the police asking you questions without your lawyer present. The main reason for this is the consumer may intend to file for bankruptcy and they’ve probably told the collector to stop contacting them. Unfortunately, however, it is not uncommon for collectors to continue their calls even after you’ve told them that you’re represented by counsel.

If you’re filing for bankruptcy you may be too preoccupied with trying to save your own finances to exact your pound of flesh against overzealous collection agents. Nevertheless, in addition to helping you file, it pays to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your corner in case the calls don’t stop coming.