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How can I stop creditor harassment?

If you have bills you are unable to pay in Oregon, creditors are allowed to contact you in order to arrange payment of the debt. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, a state law and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act both prohibit creditors from engaging in harassing behaviors as they attempt to collect payment from you. The laws also outline how you can protect yourself and stop any harassment that may occur.

 

To stop harassment, you should be very meticulous about creating a paper trail by documenting any and all interactions you have with your creditor. You should keep a detailed file containing all letters, invoices and other papers they send to you. This file should also contain a log of all phone calls that you receive from the company, when the calls occurred, the agent’s name, and any potentially harassing speech or behavior the agent uses.

 

One of the easiest steps you can take to stop this behavior is to write a cease and desist letter to the collector. The letter should specifically state that the company should immediately stop contacting you regarding the account, and reference the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You should also include any actions the company or its agents have taken that are in violation of the Act, and detail any other information about the account that you wish to convey. This should stop all non-legal communication regarding the debt.

 

The Federal Trade Commission states that you can contact the Oregon attorney general’s office, the FTC or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to file a complaint if you believe you are being harassed. They will be responsible for contacting the creditor and dealing with any violations of the law. Additionally, if you file bankruptcy, your attorney will be responsible for handling all communications with creditors regarding your debts, so communications from creditors should cease.

 

In some situations, you may also be able to sue the debt collector in either federal or state court. If you are successful, the judge can require the harassing creditor to pay a fine of $1,000 or any damages you may have endured because of their harassment. This information is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.

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