Debt Collection and Creditor Harassment in Martinsburg
It’s time to make the calls and harassment stop. Call us today so we can help you get on the path to debt collection relief.
According to survey data cited by CNBC, 90 percent of Americans report that they are stressed out about finances. Financial problems are especially stressful if you are burdened by debt and are being bombarded with calls and mail from debt collectors. We have heard from our clients far too often that debt collection agencies are relentlessly calling, being rude, or trying to use tricks or lies to get them to pay debts that they cannot afford. We have heard horror stories of debt collectors:
- impersonating law enforcement
- harassing family members
- showing up at homes
- threatening garnishments.
Is this happening to you? Are you living in fear of your phone every time it rings? Remember, debt collection agencies have rules too! At Hinkle Law, PLLC, our West Virginia debt collector and credit harassment attorney is a tireless advocate for consumer rights. If you were abused, harassed, or otherwise mistreated by a debt collector, we can help. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a West Virginia debt collector harassment lawyer, please call our Martinsburg office today.
Know the Law: Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
There are both federal and state laws that were designed to protect you from unlawful collection practices. The most important consumer protection law that applies to debt collector harassment is the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA regulates what creditors and debt collectors can and cannot do when attempting to collect on outstanding debt. Here are four key things to know about your consumer rights under the FDCPA:
- The FDCPA Prohibits the Use of Misleading Debt Collection Tactics: As a starting point, the FDCPA bars misleading debt collection practices. In effect, debt collectors have to be honest and straightforward when attempting to collect on a financial obligation. They cannot make any misrepresentations to you about who they are, what they may do if you don’t pay, how much you owe, or anything else that may be misleading. Material misrepresentations or material omissions by a debt collector is considered to be an abusive practice under the law. If you believe that materially misled by a debt collector or creditor, your rights may have been violated under the FDCPA.
- Debt Collectors Can Only Seek Limited Information from Third Parties: Debt should never be viewed as a source of shame. Instead, debt is simply a financial problem that needs to be solved. At the same time, it is entirely understandable that people do not want their debts disclosed to friends, family members, employers, or any other party. The FDCPA limits the communications that a debt collector can have with third parties. Debt collectors cannot tell other people about your debts, and they cannot call your place of employment if your employer does not allow such calls. They can only contact third parties to try to seek basic contact information about you. Further, debt collectors can only make a limited number of attempts to get contact information from any specific third party.
- Abuse and Harassment is Strictly Prohibited Under the FDCPA: The FDCPA strictly bars abuse and harassment by debt collectors. A number of different practices have been barred as forms of abuse and harassment. To start, debt collectors cannot use profane or threatening language. Additionally, there are limits to when and how much they can call you. For instance, debt collection agencies cannot make your phone constantly ring intending to annoy you. All calls must occur between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM. If you ask for a debt collector to contact you in writing only, they are generally obligated to stop calling.
- You May Be Eligible to Recover Statutory Damages for an FDCPA Violation: The FDCPA has a private right of action. You can bring a claim against a debt collector or creditor to stop harassment and/or abuse. Notably, the law allows individuals to seek statutory damage. You can seek up to $1,000 in statutory compensation for an FDCPA violation. You can also seek additional financial relief for other economic and non-economic damages, such as legal fees and emotional distress.
The Bottom Line: Just because you owe a debt does not give a debt collection agency the right to harass you. When you are already struggling financially, the last thing you want is to be threatened by debt collection agencies because you cannot afford to pay your bill. An experienced debt collector harassment lawyer will help you take action to make the phone calls stop.
What to Do to Stop Harassment and/or Abuse By a Debt Collector
If you or your loved one was the victim of debt collector harassment in West Virginia or Western Maryland, you may be wondering what steps you should take to get justice. You do not have to live with harassment or abuse by a creditor or debt collector. You can take action to make it stop. Steps to take include:
- Document: Documentation is key in any debt collector harassment claim. Write down exactly what happened. Additionally, save any call logs, text messages, emails, or written communications from debt collectors
- Write: As noted previously, the FDCPA allows you to request all communication in writing. Once you send a properly drafted cease-and-desist letter, the calls must stop. An attorney can help you write and send a cease-and-desist.
- Professional Help: You may have a claim for damages under the FDCPA. Additionally, you are likely ready to take action to get yourself out of debt. An experienced attorney can help you find the best solution.
If legal action is required, you have several options available. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, it may be advisable to report the matter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), bring a complaint with a state regulator, or file an FDCPA lawsuit against the at-fault debt collector.
How West Virginia Creditor Harassment Lawyer David Hinkle Can Help
Dealing with debt collector harassment is stressful, frustrating, and even frightening. Our founding attorney David J. Hinkle is a strong advocate for consumer rights. You do not have to deal with harassment from creditors. There are laws in place that prohibit creditor harassment. Violators must be held accountable. When you reach out to our Martinsburg legal office, you will have an opportunity to consult with a West Virginia debt collector harassment lawyer who can:
- Listen to your story and explain your rights under the FDCPA and other laws;
- Gather all of the supporting documents, records, and information that you need; and
- Take immediate action to get the debt collector harassment to stop.
We take debt collection agencies to task every day over their bullying tactics and no-holds-barred attitude toward debt collection. Don’t sit back and allow unlawfully aggressive debt collectors to make your phone ring all day! Let Hinkle Law, PLLC, and our Martinsburg bankruptcy lawyers help you fight for your peace-of-mind. We provide comprehensive representation to clients—with a focus on helping people stop creditor harassment, solve debt problems, and rebuild their finances.
Call Our Martinsburg Debt Collection and Creditor Harassment Attorney Today
At Hinkle Law, PLLC, our Martinsburg, WV debt collector and creditor harassment lawyer is a compassionate, solutions-driven advocate for justice. Harassment by a debt collector is not acceptable—it is a serious violation of consumer rights. Call us today for a free consultation, so that you can learn about the rights that you are entitled to as a consumer. With offices in Charleston and Martinsburg, WV and Hagerstown, MD; we handle debt collector and creditor harassment in West Virginia and Western Maryland.