In addition to the technical legalities of how laws are defined, there is also a moral one: the amount of calls should be small enough that they do not constitute harassment. The following illustration shows what this looks like in practice:
While your creditor may not call up to 75 times per month, calling every single time may be considered harassment. So what do you make of those three calls? Are they all reasonable? Probably not. Is it reasonable for the creditor to call up to 75 times a month? That depends on what you think about the other three calls (which might consist of exorbitant numbers of contacts from people seeking information about past payments). A factual matter.
What constitutes as harassment from a debt collector?
In the United States, a debt collector can only make one phone call per day. This number is called the recordable calls limit. The debt collector must use this time period to collect on the debt they are currently owed, however, they may not make any other calls during this time period that are not related to the current collection effort.
Harassment happens when a debt collector makes more than one call in 24 hours and/or harasses you for more than five minutes at a time. Harassment can be:
• a) A person who does not have any legal authority to collect on your debt (such as a creditor or collection agency) calling you between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
• b) A person who has no legal authority to collect on your debt (such as a creditor or collection agency) calling you more than five minutes at a time
Depending on the situation, this could be considered harassment from either side of the equation! If you suspect harassment from either side of the equation, make sure to file an incident report with your local police department if possible via their website: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminalpolicies/harassmentreport.htm .
What are your rights when it comes to debt collectors?
Once you have a debt, you should be aware of the law. Most states have laws that prevent debt collectors from calling you more than once per day or, in certain circumstances, more than one time per month. To be clear, if the debt collectors are calling to collect a past due payment and not to pursue a legal process (such as asking for additional payment on your account), then they don’t need permission to call you. But don’t assume that just because your debt collector has permission to contact you it means they are not harassing you; California law specifically says that if a collector calls more than once per day and 1.5 times per month, it is considered harassment and can result in an injunction against them from entering your home (California Civil Code §17200).
Your rights change depending on the state where you live and the type of debt collector:
1.) Some states require lenders to obtain written consent from the borrower before contacting him or her regarding his or her loan. In these cases, lenders are required by law to contact borrowers at least monthly, but with no restriction on how many times they may contact them. If written consent is not required by state law or is not obtained before each call, then lenders must provide written consent before each call.
2.) Some states do not consider this sort of contact as harassment because lenders often need to report delinquencies and debts owed by borrowers who have never missed a payment (which would typically be considered “set-off” debts) or who have made only partial payments (which would typically be considered “current” debts). In these situations, lenders may only make one phone call per month — even if it is more than once per day — but with no restriction on how many times they may call them. And if written consent is not required by state law or is not obtained before each call, then banks must provide written consent before each call.
3.) Some states also require lenders to notify borrowers about their right to dispute any outstanding payments that appear excessive for their current financial situation. If lenders do not notify borrowers about this right prior to making each telephone conversation with them about overdue payments (even if those calls are more than once per day) then they must comply with this requirement in accordance with state law .
At Affirmative Action National Law Center , we take these issues very seriously and we strive every day to support our clients in both knowing what their rights are under federal law
What should you do if you’re being harassed by a debt collector?
You may have received a call from a debt collector, which is a debt-collection agency. Debt collectors are often hired to collect on debts that have been previously placed. They will usually call you once per debt (or once per week for “bills” that accumulate over time).
But, if you receive more than two calls per day, this is harassment and the law requires the debt collector to stop calling you and return your telephone number to you within 10 business days — or they can be reported to the FTC. If you do not receive the results of this report within 10 business days, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Debt collectors are required by law to make at least three attempts before calling you for any debt unless the collector can explain why a call is necessary.
If your debt collector calls you more than one time per debt each day, this is called harassment. If you receive more than one call from a debt collector per month, it’s harassment. If your debt collector makes two or more attempts before calling you, calling you after your first attempt ends is also harassment. It is illegal to harass someone else.