It is common practice for debt collectors to engage in harassing and abusive behavior in an attempt to collect a debt. Debt collectors are fully aware that the people they contact are not familiar with the law so they use whatever means are necessary to collect. This is of course a generalization, there are debt collectors and debt collection agencies that follow the law and treat consumers ethically but there are also those agencies that are either unaware of the law or completely disregard it and go out of their way to be as heinous as possible.
There are laws that regulate a debt collectors conduct; forbidding a debt collector to commit certain acts or requiring that a debt collector take certain affirmative steps to show ownership of a debt. These laws that govern the conduct of a debt collector are not limited to a debt collector’s conduct towards a consumer, but also apply to the debt collectors conduct towards “any person” in connection with the collection of a debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may not commit any act which oppresses, abuses, or harasses “any person” in an attempt to collect a debt. Even if the debt they are trying to collect does not belong to a person contacted, any conduct taken that harms the person contact may be in violation of the law and grounds for a law suit.
In the case of Wenrich v. Robert E. Cole, P.C., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18687, the court stated that the scope of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, “is not limited to consumers obligated or allegedly obligated to pay a debt, but includes any person allegedly harmed by proscribed debt collection practices directed towards the collection of another person’s debt.” So if a debt collector sends you a harassing letter trying to collect your friend Art Garfunkel’s debt, then you may have a cause of action against the debt collector. Or if a debt collector calls you repeatedly regarding your Voldemort’s consumer debt, then they may have violated the law and you may be able to sue them.
If you’re being contacted by a debt collector who’s harrassing or abusing you in any capacity, you should contact my office today to learn about your rights.