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Hope for New Jersey residents bothered by creditor harassment

Results of a recent government study show that more than one out of every four U.S. consumers who have been contacted by debt collectors report feelings of being threatened during the interaction. Creditor harassment is becoming a major problem in New Jersey and across the nation. In fact, complaints over debt collection issues are higher than for any other financial product.

The study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed that three out of every four individuals among the 40 percent of consumers reported being ignored after requesting that the creditor or collector stop contacting them. Over a third of surveyed consumers also reported collection calls outside of the allowable 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. timeframe; anytime outside of these hours is prohibited. Furthermore, almost 40 percent of the individuals surveyed complained of four or more contact attempts per week, which may constitute harassment.

The Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that many consumers have been threatened with jail time or arrest, which is illegal. The Bureau reports more than 25 cases of debt collection tactics that allegedly abuse or deceive consumers. One in seven survey respondents stated they had even been sued over a debt referred to an agency for collection.

While this report will hopefully spur the government to action and lead to the creation of tougher regulations and new laws in the debt collection industry, many people continue to struggle with creditor harassment on a daily basis. Anyone in New Jersey who feels threatened by creditors or overwhelmed by debt might benefit from contacting an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. An attorney could explain an individual's legal rights in regard to debt collection and creditor harassment and can help explore options for taking steps toward a more stable financial future.

Source: USA Today, "Report: 1-in-4 consumers contacted by debt collectors felt threatened", Kevin McCoy, Jan. 12, 2017

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