Overwhelming debt can rear its ugly head to even the most responsible person in Kentucky. Unfortunately, it only takes a few months of missed payments for debt collectors to come calling.

This can be an incredibly stressful situation. While debt collectors can call debtors, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits harassing phone calls. This Act applies to debt collectors who are employees of third-party collection agencies.

Per the FDCPA, debt collectors must identify themselves and let the debtor know they are calling to collect a debt. They must also provide the debtor with the original creditor’s name and address. They must give the debtor verification of the debt, and they must let the debtor know that they may have the right to dispute the debt. Moreover, if the grounds for filing a legal action exist, it can only be done in the area where the debtor lives or where the contract between the debtor and the debt originated.

The FDCPA also makes it against the law for debt collectors to call debtors at unreasonable hours. They are not permitted to call the debtor repeatedly and continuously, and they cannot contact debtors at the debtor’s workplace, if they have been notified that the employer prohibits doing so. Debt collectors also cannot engage in misrepresentation or deception, seek more than the initial debt, make threats, swear or use abusive language.

Debt collectors also cannot discuss the issue with third parties. They also cannot report inaccurate information on the debtor’s credit report.

Debtors have the right to send written notice that they want the debt collector to cease communicating with them, and if so, the debt collector must do so. Keep in mind though, that even if a debtor takes this step, the debt collector could pursue other means for collecting on the debt, like filing a lawsuit.

And, if a debtor has filed for bankruptcy, such as Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt collectors must cease contacting the debtor. Once an attorney represents the debtor, the debt collector can no longer communicate with the debtor. Therefore, for those who cannot pay their debts and are facing harassing creditor phone calls, filing for bankruptcy may be one option to consider.

Source: FindLaw.com, “How to Stop Debt Collector Harassment,” accessed on Jan. 1, 2017