New Jersey Residents Hounded by Unscrupulous Debt Collectors

If you're behind on your debt payments, you know how unrelenting some debt collectors can be.

Both federal and New Jersey state law prohibit debt collectors from engaging in abusive, harassing or dishonest behavior. Unfortunately, many debt collectors choose to knowingly violate the law in an attempt to collect more money. Even though it is illegal, various forms of creditor harassment happen all the time.

For example, debt collectors are strictly prohibited from contacting third parties to discuss a debtor's obligations. However, many openly admit to calling debtor's relatives in the hopes that the relative will convince the debtor to pay. Some even say they have called debtors' neighbors to ask them to leave notes on the debtors' front door.

Other debt collectors have been known to trick debtors into renewing an expired statute of limitations. They advise debtors to make a small payment "to show they are trying," but fail to mention that even a minimal payment starts the limitations period all over again.

It is even more common for debt collectors to attempt to disrupt debtors' lives by calling excessively, leaving harassing or threatening messages, calling debtors at work or calling late at night.

Bankruptcy Will Stop Debt Collection Efforts

Many New Jersey residents end up feeling helpless in the face of such unrelenting debt collection efforts. What they don't realize is that there are a number of ways to get the debt collectors to stop.

Perhaps the easiest is to send a "cease letter." In it, the debtor simply tells the collector to stop all contact. The collector is required to comply, unless they are notifying the debtor of further collection efforts (such as a lawsuit).

Although it may stop collectors from calling, a cease letter does absolutely nothing to address the underlying debt. If you cannot pay your debt, your best option may be to file for bankruptcy.

A successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most, if not all, of your outstanding debts and allow you to start over fresh. Filing for bankruptcy will also initiate an "automatic stay" that requires all debt collection efforts to stop until after your bankruptcy has been resolved.

If you are overwhelmed by debt or being hounded by debt collectors, waiting will likely only make your problems worse. Contact a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand your options.