Federal and state laws that make debt collection harassment illegal are all well and good, but unless you know what counts as “harassment,” it’s hard to know what to look out for.
Both the FDCPA (federal law) and the FCEUA (Pennsylvania law) make it illegal for collectors to engage in “any conduct, the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person,” when collecting a debt. Basically, collectors can’t harass or abuse you! This very broad language includes profanity, talking down to you, threatening to tell your neighbors about your money problems, calling your house dozens of times a day, and many other possible scenarios.
Both laws also forbid the use of any “false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means” in connection with the collection of a debt. In other words, collectors can’t lie to you or mislead you to get you to pay. Some examples of false or misleading collection tactics include trying to collect more than you actually owe, threatening to have you arrested unless you pay, or pretending to be from the sheriff’s department or another government agency.
If you have experienced a form of harassment discussed above or would like to learn more, contact our harassment lawyers at (412) 378-5854. In addition to forbidding various types of harassment, the FDCPA and FCEUA also make it illegal for collectors or creditors to contact you if they know you are represented by a lawyer.