How Many Calls From a Debt Collector Is Considered Harassment?

Harassment is a prevalent phenomenon and a broad term that refers to an array of different types of abuse. Generally speaking, harassment is described as any repeated or uninvited contact that serves no useful purpose beyond creating alarm, fear, annoyance, or emotional distress in the victim. 

It can come from a number of sources, including debt collectors or creditors.

What Is Creditor Harassment?

Creditor harassment is any type of unsolicited and repeated contact from the creditor or a debt collection agency that disturbs you, frightens you, or makes you feel threatened. Here is how this Reddit user described his experience with creditor harassment:

“I get numerous phone calls from different numbers as well as an unknown number. They call me within the time frame (8 a.m.-9 p.m.), but it’s persistent all day long. I get anywhere from 10-12 calls a day from 3 different numbers, including a blocked one. We simply don’t have the money to pay them at this point due to some extra expenses.”

It’s a reality that many Americans face, but what they may not be aware of is that it’s illegal for the debt collection agency or creditors to harass them in such a manner.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors aren’t allowed to harass, oppress, or abuse you or anyone else they contact.

Here are some examples of what constitutes harassment from a creditor or debt collector: 

  • Repeated phone calls aiming to annoy, abuse, or harass the debtor or any person answering the phone
  • Anonymous phone calls 
  • The use of obscene or profane language
  • Threats of violence or harm
  • Publication of debtors’ names (this doesn’t refer to divulging information to a credit reporting company)

If you have experienced any of the above-mentioned forms of harassment, you can sue the creditor or debt collection agency for violating the FDCPA rules. If you win the case, the creditor or collector will be obliged to cover your court costs and lawyer’s fees and may also have to pay you up to $1,000 in damages. 

Harassing Phone Calls From Debt Collectors

Federal laws don’t set a prescribed maximum number of allowed phone calls from a debt collector. However, if the calls are repeated and are causing you distress or torment, and the collector placing the calls does so to upset you intentionally, this constitutes harassment. 

It’s also vital to note that a debt collector can’t call you at an unusual or inconvenient time. In general, this applies to calls made before 8 am. or after 9 pm. 

Debt Collector Harassment in the Form of Misrepresentations

The FDCPA also states that creditors or debt collectors can’t use false, deceptive, or misleading practices, including misrepresentations about the debt.

They cannot lie, threaten, or deceive the debtor about:

  • The amount the debtor owes
  • Their identity (i.e., saying that they are an attorney if they aren’t)
  • Plans to have the debtor arrested
  • Actions that cannot legally be done or that the collector/creditor has no intention of doing

Please note that stopping a debt collector from contacting you does not prevent them from resorting to other legal ways to collect the owed sum. They may resort to a lawsuit against you or make a negative report to a consumer reporting company.

What to Do if Creditors or Debt Collectors Are Harassing You?

Owing money is stressful enough, but being harassed by abusive debt collectors makes it infinitely worse. You may have found yourself in a challenging position, but it’s essential to remember that you have rights and that the law protects you from harassment related to debt collection.

If you are talking with a debt collector or creditor, be careful not to disclose sensitive personal or financial information, especially if you’re not already familiar with them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that a debt collector generally isn’t allowed to talk about your debt with anyone but you or your spouse. In the case of an attorney representing you, the debt collector has to contact the attorney. 

What are some other do’s and don’ts you have to keep in mind when dealing with a debt collector?

Do’s 

Don’ts

Hang up if you don’t want to talk to the creditors

Let the debt collection agency intimidate you 
Send the debt collectors a cease and desist letter asking them to stop contacting you

Allow the creditors to confuse you with technical, profane, or threatening language

Keep a record of every harassing phone call that took place

Allow the debt collectors to talk to your family members or other people in your household about the debt
Make a background check on the debt collection agency and verify their legitimacy

Let the creditors call you at work or without your permission 

Reporting Creditor or Debt Collector Harassment With DoNotPay

Fox details how DoNotPay makes it easier to fight companies by suing them in small claims court

It’s your legal right to tell the creditor or debt collector to leave you alone, and DoNotPay can help you with that. 

The best way to request them to stop contacting you is through a formal cease and desist letter. Penning one can be challenging, but our app has perfected and automated this process. All you need to do is feed the app’s chatbot the required information, and DoNotPay will create the letter on your behalf.

Do the following:

  1. Access DoNotPay from your web browser or on your iOS device
  2. Click on the Relationship Protection button
  3. Go to Explore Relationship Services
  4. Select Safety and Stalking, then hit Let’s Do It
  5. Choose Stalking from the provided options—this also helps with creditor harassment
  6. Answer the chatbot’s questions

Once the app’s chatbot gets all the necessary information, it will produce a cease and desist letter addressed to the harassing creditor on your behalf. This cease and desist letter will demand from the harasser to:

  1. Stop (cease) their behavior immediately, and 
  2. Not restart it (desist)

In addition to the above, the letter will leave a paper trail that you’ve tried to resolve the issue yourself and warn the creditors you might take formal legal action against them if the harassment continues.

Common Types of Harassment 

Do you know what it means when somebody’s harassing you? Harassment can occur in person, through phone calls, or online. It can be sexual or discriminatory in nature, occur in the workplace, on the street, or in the classroom.

Repeated harassment can qualify as stalking or, if it’s happening online, cyberstalking. If you think you may be a victim of stalking, learn how to stop a stalker and how to obtain a restraining order.

Put an End to Other Gripes in Life With DoNotPay 

A virtual, AI-fueled legal assistant is now within your fingertips’ reach. Whether you need help with disputing a parking ticket, suing someone in small claims court, or getting compensation for a canceled flight, DoNotPay knows just the way to do it.

You can access the DoNotPay app in any web browser or on your iOS device.

Our app can help you with: