When you are struggling with debt, the last thing you want is to deal with the stress of a debt collector on top of everything else. Even when they follow all the rules, the act of collection attempts alone is often stressful.
But unfortunately, they do not always follow these rules. Sometimes, a debt collector may act in a way that is harmful or even illegal.
Misrepresentation vs. harassment
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines debt collector misrepresentation. This differs from harassment in several ways, though there is often overlap between the two categories. Misrepresentation does not usually involve threats as harassment often does. It also does not involve the use of vulgar or crude language. However, the overall goal is still to menace the target. They just go about it in a different way.
Debt collectors who misrepresent themselves may pretend to be lawyers or other legal experts. They may also pretend that they have gotten police involved or have a warrant for your arrest when they do not.
Threats and misrepresentation
It is also misrepresentation when debt collectors make threats that they cannot or will not make good on. For example, a debt collector may threaten to have you “thrown into jail”. But there is no basis for the police to even get involved, let alone for a judge to grant a warrant for your arrest.
Another common tactic is for a debt collector to lie about the amount you owe, making it seem much more dire than it actually is. They do this to pressure you into responding faster, even if you do not need to. If any of these things happen to you, it is possible to take legal action against the debt collector.