What can I do if the loan company is harassing me?
What do I do if a creditor is harassing me?
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, "What can I do if the loan company is harassing me? They took me to court, but they are not willing to accept less than the original loan payment."
As a debtor, you have legal protection against third party debt collection harassment. In fact, your rights are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). So if you are being harassed by a debt collector, including a company which buys delinquent debts, collection agencies or lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, it may be time to take legal action.
When are actions of the debt collector considered harassment?
There are specific actions identified under the FDCPA, and they can include the following actions:
- Calling the debtor every day.
- Calls at unusual times (before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.)
- Calling the debtor's at work if the debtor has notified the collector their employer does not want the worker to receive calls.
- Contacting other people about the debtor's debt more than one time (unless the person tells the collector it is okay).
- Contacting your employer more than one time. A collector may call your employer to ask for verification of employment.
- Verbally threatening the debtor.
- Using fake legal documents to collect debt payments.
- Threatening to have the debtor arrested for nonpayment of debts.
- Using foul language or calling the debtor names.
Unfortunately, however, the FDCPA generally does not apply to the original creditor or its employees (exceptions exists if the creditor uses a different name that implies a third party is attempting to collect the debt). So if the original creditor is simply making frequent inquiries about payments they are owed, this may not be considered harassment.
Creditor has taken me to court
Now, if you are dealing with the original creditor and you have already been sued in court and the court has issued a judgment, you will have to repay the debt. The creditor is not required to accept less than the amount owed and does not legally have to negotiate with you.
If the judge has issued a judgment, the creditor may have the legal right to take some of your assets or garnish your wages. State laws vary, but in some states certain assets and income may be protected.
For instance, in the state of Texas your wages cannot be garnished by a creditor except for child support, alimony, taxes, and student loans. Income such as welfare and Supplemental Security Income are also completely protected. Other income may also be protected up to a certain limit. So the good news is, even if the creditor received a judgment, your state laws may offer you some protection.
What if I have no assets?
What if you do not have any assets and you are currently unemployed? While you may not have any money for the creditor to collect now, if your financial situation changes in the future the creditor may still be able to collect payments for the debt.
The amount of time a collector has to collect on a judgment will vary by state. For instance, in some states a judgment is effective between five to seven years. In other states, like New York, it can be twenty years or longer.
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