Living a life with debt is already stressful. But the added stress of avoiding collectors’ repetitive and embarrassing calls amplifies it. Some third-party collectors are scrupulous and fair. Unfortunately, others are willing to take advantage of consumers and engage in aggressive--and sometimes illegal--behavior. That being said, in the U.S., those third-party collectors could end up paying dearly for their harassment.
This is because if they are harassing you, they may be in violation of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It’s a federal law that is supposed to keep third-party collectors from bothering consumers. There are many different types of prohibited behavior, including calling at odd hours, using profane language, and masquerading as an agent of a government organization.
Any of the aforementioned violations could be enough to warrant you filing a claim under the FDCPA. In order to have a successful claim, you should consider contacting an attorney to help you through this process.
Hawaii’s Specific FDCPA Laws
In Hawaii, the statute of limitations on open accounts is six years. Additionally, all collection agencies must be registered with the state, and any company that attempts to collect debts and is not registered with the state will be in trouble.
These laws complement the FDCPA law by creating some accountability among third-party collectors. That being said, Hawaii’s laws alone may not be enough for you to get the protection that you deserve. Fortunately, since the FDCPA is a federal law, its protections extend to Hawaii.
How Hawaii’s Act Bolsters the FDCPA
Most of the debt protection you get to enjoy in Hawaii comes from the FDCPA. Thanks to the FDCPA, third-party collectors aren’t allowed to:
- Threaten to seize your property
- Try to collect an amount that wasn’t agreed upon in your initial agreement
- Pretend to be an IRS agent
- Call you at odd hours, such as before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. in your time zone
- Try to collect a debt that you’ve already paid.
These aren’t all of the behaviors prohibited by the FDCPA, so don’t be discouraged if the harassment you’ve been experiencing didn’t neatly fit in with these examples. You can learn more about other violations here.
Talk to An Attorney Today
You shouldn’t be suffering harassment in Hawaii or anywhere in the U.S. State laws and the FDCPA should keep third-party collectors from being nuisances. But people can still act badly even with robust laws in place, so there is still the potential for you to be harassed.
This is why it can be helpful to contact an FDCPA attorney to help you if you’re experiencing mistreatment from third-party collectors. An FDCPA attorney will have the knowledge to help you understand what you may be entitled to and file your claim if you decide that you want help. You could even receive $1000 for each FDCPA violation.
Unfortunately, there can be a great deal of shame attached to being in debt; the stigma has the potential to keep people from seeking help. There’s no shame in having debts, and there’s no shame in asking for help. Contact an attorney today to start the process of gaining some relief.