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What do I do if I am being harassed by a creditor?

Credit card companies and other agencies that lend money to consumers are restricted in the actions they may perform to collect on their borrowers' debts. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, New Yorkers have rights to stop creditor harassment if it violates federal law. Defining harassment is an important component in knowing how and when to stop it.

Generally, telephone calls where the collector intends to bother or berate the consumer is classified as creditor harassment. It may escalate from there and include threatening or violent discourse, or it may include use of offensive words or behaviors to push the consumer toward payment. Harassment can occur over time, through calls or correspondence, and may be at inappropriate times of the day. There is no one act or action that constitutes harassment, as it may present itself differently in different situations.

If a consumer is harassed by a credit card company, they may report that entity to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Attorneys in the debt relief field can help their clients work with this agency and other agencies to stop creditor harassment and formulate plans to relieve their clients' burdensome debts. As different individuals have different financial situations, it is important that readers seek out their own legal advice to best address their personal financial quandaries.

The first thing consumers should remember is that they do not have to endure harassment just because they carry credit card debt. They do not have to take the abusive, negative scare tactics that some collection groups use to frighten individuals into making payments they may not be able to afford. Help is available to those who are struggling with consumer debt and those individuals have options for working toward debt relief and harassment-free living.

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