As a debtor and consumer, you do have rights when it comes to being protected from unfair treatment by debt collectors or other agencies. Many consumers may think the persistent harassment they receive from debt collectors is fair, due to shame for being so behind on payments. Just because a debtor owes money does not mean they should endure the ruthless tactics of debt collectors, though. Every consumer who has debt should understand their rights fully, so they know when legal action must be taken.
Why are robocalls such a common way to contact a consumer?
Robocalls may be used by a debt collector as a way to remind a consumer when they are late on payments. Robocalls are pre-recorded or automated messages which are often sent through a computer software system called an auto dialer. With robocalls, a debt collection agency can avoid having to pay real people to make calls, as the computer program can do it all for them without much, if any, human assistance.
What are my rights as a consumer?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are the main sources of information that a consumer can read to find out more about their rights when being contacted by a collections agency. To summarize, these two acts prohibit debt collection agencies from using harassment or threats when attempting to get payment from debtors. An agency may be violating consumer rights if they have committed any of the following behaviors:
- Threatening that the debtor will be thrown in jail if they do not make a payment
- Trying to collect debts that the debtor has disputed, along with refusing to provide proof that an amount is owed
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., or at any other time of day that the debt collector knows may be disruptive for the debtor
- Sending robocalls without the option to opt-out of future calls or to be forwarded to a live representative
What if I have tried to get the robocalls to stop, but I keep getting contacted?
Even if you have given consent to be contacted by the original creditor or the debt collection agency, you can revoke your consent at any time. Just because you gave permission once does not mean you have to permit it forever. If a debt collector continues to contact you after you have given both a verbal and written request to halt robocalls, it may be time to get legal assistance.
Why might it take a lawsuit to get these robocalls to halt?
If a debt collector knows they are utilizing shady business practices, they may not respect the consumer’s wish to not be contacted. Sometimes it takes being faced with a lawsuit to finally give in and stop the illegal communication. An agency may have to pay the debtor financial compensation for these bothersome and incessant robocalls.