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California Debt Collector Harassment

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Various federal and California consumer protection laws prohibit California debt collector harassment and other forms of bill collector harassment. Illegal activities on the part of a bill collector include making repeated phone calls, using threatening or intimidating language, misrepresenting facts about the debt owed and sharing information about the debt with a third party. Consumers in California who have been harassed by a debt collector may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the offender.

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California Bill Collector Harassment

California and federal laws protect consumers against various activities on the part of the bill collector. California law that protects consumers is the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The act protects consumers from both debt collectors and creditors and prohibits such organizations from using deceptive, abusive and unfair tactics to collect on debts.

Under California law, debt collectors, collection agencies, original creditors, companies that make tools to help with debt collection, and companies or people who collect consumer debt as a regular part of business are regulated by the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This means that not only third-party debt collectors but also companies attempting to recover original debt owed to them (such as banks) are governed by the law.

California debt collection law prohibits the use or threat of use of physical force, defamation or arrest in collecting a debt. It also prohibits debt collectors or original creditors from misleading consumers into believing not paying the debt is a crime, using profane language, hiding their identity, misrepresenting themselves, calling repeatedly or publishing the debtor's name. A debt collector or original creditor can call the debtor's family in an attempt to locate the debtor but, unless the debtor is a minor, cannot give information about the debt to the family.

Federal Debt Collector Harassment

Federal laws that protect consumers include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. These acts set out when and how debt collectors can contact debtors, what action they can legally take against debtors and who they can speak to regarding a debt. For example, it is illegal for debt collectors to call debtors outside the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM or to make repeated or harassing phone calls. It is also illegal for them to make calls to non-debtors, such as family members and to make threats against the debtor.

Although federal law typically only governs debt collectors, California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act requires most original creditors to comply with the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. This means that in California, original creditors must follow federal rules.

California Debt Collector Lawsuit

Consumers who have been harassed, intimidated or threatened by a company attempting to collect on debts, or who have had that company violate California or federal law, can file a lawsuit against the collector. Lawsuits can recover damages incurred by the violation, additional awards if the company acted knowingly or willfully and possible awards for emotional damages.



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Published on Apr-18-14


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