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Has a debt collector threatened you?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Bankruptcy

Debt collection is big business in the U.S. In fact, according to reporting from CNBC, there are more than 7,000 third-party debt collection organizations in the country. If you fall behind on your bills, any one of these may contact you to try to secure payment.

As you probably know, debt collectors do not always use pleasant tactics. Fortunately, federal law places some meaningful restrictions on what they can do. If a debt collector has threatened you, you may have valid grounds to file a complaint.

Impermissible threats

Debt collectors should never threaten physical violence or harm. Because most collectors know this, you are not likely to have to deal with a threat to your safety. Nevertheless, an unscrupulous debt collector may try to induce you to pay by threatening to call Child Protective Services, report you for a child custody violation or even end your public benefits.

Just like physical threats are impermissible, these types of threats also cross the line. This is because they likely have nothing to do with collecting from you. Furthermore, these threats are scare tactics that intimidate and harass you.

Permissible threats

Debt collectors may threaten to take legal action against you, provided the legal action has something to do with collecting the debt. For example, a collector may tell you that if you do not pay, the agency will pursue a wage garnishment or exercise other legal options. These are usually not prohibited threats.

It can be difficult to distinguish between permissible threats and impermissible ones, of course. Ultimately, you may need to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney to determine whether the threat is off-limits.