Handling harassment from debt collection agencies

Handling Harassment From Debt Collection Agencies | December 2023

Understanding your rights is crucial when dealing with a debt collection agency because of money owed. This article will guide you through the procedure, offer helpful debt advice, and help you recognise and deal with debt collector harassment.

Table of Contents

Understanding Debt Collection Laws

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) oversees debt collector behaviour. Every debt collection agency is required to abide by the guidelines in the FCA’s Consumer Credit Sourcebook. 

The Justice Act offers an additional legal framework to control debt collectors’ actions.

These rules and laws impose obligations on debt collectors. They cannot harass you by contacting you at odd hours or using intimidating legal jargon. To know when a debt collector misbehaves, it would be best to become familiar with these laws.

Knowing a collection agency’s legal rights is essential to understanding debt collection laws. For instance, without a court order, they cannot threaten to sell your property. Unless specified in your original credit agreement, they cannot assert collection costs.

Identifying Harassment from Agencies

A debt collection agency may harass you in several ways. When a debt collector calls you at odd hours, threatens you, or contacts you through social media, this is called harassment. 

If they keep getting in touch with a relative or another third party despite being prohibited from doing so, that constitutes harassment as well. Sending threatening letters or making bad phone calls are two additional forms of debt collector harassment. 

Remembering that such conduct is unacceptable and violates the FCA‘s regulations is crucial.

It is also considered harassment if a debt collector provides inaccurate balance statements or claims collection costs not included in your original credit agreement. 

You are entitled to file a formal complaint in response to such behaviour.

You can also watch this video on Youtube here.

Rights Against Debt Collection Harassment

You are protected from debt collection harassment by several laws. These rights have been established to safeguard you from unethical debt-collector tactics. They include the freedom from harassment or excessive pressure from the debt collection agency. 

They also include the right to a reasonable amount of time to repay your debts. You have the right to consult with others before making a decision. Several resources, including the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, offer free debt advice. 

Additionally, if harassment continues, you have the right to request that all communications with the debt collection agency be done in writing.

Remember that with a court order, debt collectors can legally enter your home or seize your belongings. It’s also crucial to understand that you are only legally responsible for a family member’s debts if you co-signed the credit agreement.

Effective Communication with Collection Agencies

To manage your debts and avoid harassment, communication with collection agencies is essential. Keep a copy of any correspondence you have with the debt collection company. This entails keeping track of every letter, email, and phone call and saving them all.

If a debt collection agency contacts you, it’s crucial to maintain your composure. To the point and professional at all times in your communications. Do not agree to more credit or debt than you can handle under pressure. 

You can ask the debt collector to stop contacting you if you feel harassed. Having an advisor represent you when speaking with debt collectors is advantageous. This can support ensuring your rights are upheld and offer additional guidance on handling the circumstance. 

It is considered harassment if a debt collector contacts you directly despite having a debt counsellor.

Handling Harassment From Debt Collection Agencies

Reporting Harassment to Authorities

You must notify the authorities if a debt collector is bothering you. 

The Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline can offer additional guidance on what to do if you’re being harassed, and the Financial Ombudsman Service can assist in resolving disputes with debt collection agencies.

Presenting as much supporting documentation as possible when filing a complaint is crucial. Letters, emails, and witness statements are examples of this. It’s also important to remember that, according to the Harassment Act, harassing a debtor is illegal.

Additionally, you can file a complaint with the debt collection agency’s trade organisation. Trade associations have guidelines and requirements that members must follow. The trade association has the right to take action against a member who violates these rules.

"Knowing a collection agency's legal rights is essential to understanding debt collection laws."

Legal Remedies for Debt Harassment

There are legal options if a debt collector is harassing you. The debt collector may be subject to a restraining order from the court, which forbids them from contacting you. After that, if the debt collector still bothers you, they could be charged with a crime.

A debt collection agency could also be sued for harassing customers. As a result, the organisation might have to compensate you. Getting sound legal counsel is crucial if you consider taking this route.

Legal action can be taken if the debt collection company is a loan shark. You can report loan sharks to the authorities because they are against the law. You are not legally required to repay a loan shark if you borrowed money from them.

Understanding Debt Collection Laws

Managing Your Debts Effectively

Effective debt management can lessen the annoyance of debt collectors. Look for free debt advice if you’re having financial trouble. 

Other governmental entities and the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline can offer valuable information and recommendations on debt relief strategies. Making sure you are paying your debts as agreed is also crucial. 

Make immediate contact with your creditors if you cannot make your payments. They can assist you in developing a strategy for debt management.

Debt consolidation is something else to take into account. This entails consolidating all of your debts to make them simpler to handle. But not everyone will find this the best option, so it’s crucial to get advice before making any choices.

Seeking Professional Advice on Debt Harassment

Getting expert guidance is imperative if a debt collection agency is harassing you. This can support you and help you understand your rights and options. The Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline can offer guidance and support and connect you with other helpful organisations. 

Numerous charities provide free debt counselling. Legal experts can guide your legal options and how to file a lawsuit against a debt collection agency. They can also assist you in deciphering the legalese that debt collection agencies frequently employ.

Additionally, consulting a trade association is valuable. Many debt collection companies belong to trade associations with guidelines and requirements that members must follow. If you’re being harassed by one of their members, these associations can offer guidance and support.

Dealing with Credit Card Companies and Car Loans

You might be working with a debt collection agency if you have credit card debt or have taken out a car loan. Understanding that these businesses must adhere to industry regulations when contacting customers is crucial. 

They cannot impose arbitrary fees or act unacceptably, such as calling at obnoxious hours. You have the right to complain if you are dissatisfied with how a collection agency handles your case. 

Contacting the initial creditor, the credit card provider, or the auto loan company may be necessary in this situation. Another option is to file a complaint with a professional or governmental organisation like Trading Standards or the Financial Conduct Authority.

Understand Your Mental Health Rights

Managing debt can result in mental health issues. Debt collectors must consider this and are not permitted to harass you if you are dealing with mental health problems. If so, it may be time to gather proof and file a complaint. 

This may entail recording phone calls or when people contact one another and what they talk about.

Protecting Your Property and Avoiding Court Action

Debt collectors can only threaten to sell your property with a court order. Additionally, they cannot charge arbitrary fees for services like premium phone numbers. If they do, there is no doubt that a creditor complaint is in order.

Getting advice right away is critical if your debt collector threatens legal action. Understanding court documents and potential court claims may be necessary for this. Remember that a debt collection agency can only file a lawsuit if your debt is legitimately enforceable.

Accepting Reasonable Offers and Seeking Help

Making reasonable offers to creditors is crucial if you’re in debt trouble. They must take these offers into account. You can complain to a government agency or professional organisation if they reject your request without a good reason.

Seeking help is crucial if you’re facing a challenging debt situation. This could entail contacting a free debt advice service or requesting assistance from a professional organisation. They can guide you in dealing with debt collectors and understanding your rights.

Rights Against Debt Collection Harassment

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Meet the author

Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson

Jane is one of our primary content writers and specialises in elder care. She has a degree in English language and literature from Manchester University and has been writing and reviewing products for a number of years.

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