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Putting an end to creditor harassment in New Jersey

For residents of New Jersey struggling under the weight of insurmountable debt, every day can be a hassle. Particularly in instances where an individual lives under the constant strain of creditor harassment, the situation may feel hopeless. No matter how bleak, though, the good news is that there are options for tackling credit card debt and there are limits to what a creditor or collector can legally do or say when they call.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act explicitly forbids deceptive or abusive behavior. Regardless of how much money the caller is attempting to collect, there are a number of prohibited practices. First and foremost is harassment. Creditors are not allowed to swear or threaten the person they are calling, either physically or with threats of arrest. Debt collectors are also not permitted to lie; they cannot pretend to be someone they are not – like a lawyer or a police officer – and they cannot claim legal expertise, telling the person that he or she has committed a crime or claiming that certain papers are or are not legally binding documents if the opposite is true.

Additionally, while credit collectors can contact friends and relatives to gain factual information such as a home address and place of employment, they are not allowed to discuss the actual debt with these others. They are also not permitted to call an individual at the debtor's place of employment if the employee is not allowed to take personal phone calls at work. Even when the individual is at home, the creditor is prohibited from calling between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

If anyone in New Jersey is suffering from creditor harassment, there are things that can be done. One approach is to track the abusive behavior, writing down the name of the caller, what was said and the time. This information can then be reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or may be given to an attorney. A lawyer may also be able to offer assistance in other ways, like negotiating a consolidation agreement with credit card companies. This approach should help put an end to creditor harassment and offers other possible benefits like a single lower monthly payment and reduced interest fees.

Source: finance.yahoo.com, "Know Your Rights When You're on the Phone With a Debt Collector", Susannah Snider, March 2, 2017

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