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Creditors Can be Sued for Being Too Aggressive in Collecting Debts from You

A common complaint among consumers is that when they fall behind on their payments, their phone rings off the hook with creditors calling all the time to discuss the bill or demand payments.  Many creditors have a system in place that requires their employees to call multiple times in a day, even if the debtor answers the phone.

While creditors may have a right to contact you to discuss amounts you owe them, the law puts limits on such contacts.  Creditors who call too often, or under circumstances where the debtor is in a bad position, can be sued for violating debtors’ rights.

In one case, a debtor was called 46 times in 183 days by a mortgage company claiming she and her husband were behind on their payments. Some of the calls came while the debtor’s mother was in the hospital and then shortly after the mother died.  The debtors sued the mortgage company for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy, and the federal court said the debtors had a right to do so, ruling that the mortgage company’s conduct could be considered “utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

If you are receiving calls from a creditor who you can’t pay in full at the time, you can instruct them not to call you so often. Explain to them your reasons for that instruction – whether you have children or are under stress at work or any other reasons you have for wanting them to limit contact. Ask them to contact you only at certain times, or at certain numbers, or only in writing. The creditor should act reasonably in response to your reasonable requests. If they don’t, contact one of our experienced consumer protection lawyers and we’ll see what we can do to help. 

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