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Abusive debt collection practices are illegal

Over the past few decades, the practices of many debt collectors have negatively affected residents in Oregon and throughout the country. While it’s understandable that companies want to receive the money that is owed to them, some of the collection agencies utilized by lenders have resorted to practices that are deemed unfair and abusive by consumer protection groups and the government.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some of the tactics that have been used by collection agents may seem surprising and even shocking. These include the following examples:

  • The use of profane language during a phone call.
  • Threatening to use violence against the consumer.
  • Repeatedly calling on the phone or sending letters with the intent to annoy or harass.
  • Publishing a list of consumers who don’t repay debts (with the exclusion of reporting the information to a credit reporting agency).

Additionally, some collection agents have been known to use false or misleading practices, such as threatening to have the debtor arrested, in attempts to collect a debt.

These tactics are illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, says the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has found numerous cases of collection agencies resorting to forms of creditor harassment that can result in marital stress, job loss, invasion of privacy and continued financial difficulties. Debt collectors have other means to collect debts that are not abusive or deceptive.

A person who is the victim of abusive creditor harassment can sue the collection agency for violations of the FDCPA. If successful, the debt collector is usually required to pay attorney fees and may also have to pay damages to the consumer.

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