Creditors are precluded by law from certain behaviors and actions when they are trying to collect a debt. Creditors may not:
- Use profane or obscene language or language that might ordinarily abuse the listener,
- Call you without telling you the name of the company the caller represents,
- Call so much that it is unreasonable or harassing under the circumstances,
- Call at times other than normal waking hours,
- Call your job after you tell them not to,
- Give anyone information relating to the debt without your permission,
- Threaten physical harm, harm to your reputation or your property,
- Threaten to take you to court and falsely accuse you of fraud or any other crime
- Continue to call you if you tell them you are represented by counsel,
- Threaten that failure to pay will result in your arrest, attachment of your property or garnishment of your wages without proper court proceedings,
- Assess fees and other charges they not entitled to collect by agreement or law.
And there are others. This law applies to credit cards, mortgage companies, banks, collections agencies and any entity to whom you owe money.
What you can do
Even with the existence of all these protections afforded by Vermont law, creditors persist in these behaviors, among others. One of the biggest problems with bringing an action against the creditor for violations like these is lack of evidence. If you are experiencing harassment of this type, make sure you do everything you possibly can to document these activities. Have witnesses available, record these conversations, save messages left by creditors. Write down the days, times and lengths of each call, get the persons name, phone number, and company name. If they refuse, document it. If you have caller ID, save it if possible.
If you decide to file for bankruptcy relief, the filing of the petition prevents creditors from contacting you in any way to collect a debt, or trying to take possession of any of your property to satisfy a debt once they receive notice of the filing. If the creditor persists, we can ask the Bankruptcy Court to stop them. This is a powerful tool designed to give you some breathing room.
Call 1-802-388-1156 for more information.