Today, many people use credit cards to shop and purchase goods. People also take home loans, car loans, study loans, and various other types of loans to help themselves and their families. These loans are usually provided by banks and financial organizations.
When people purchase with credit cards or take a loan, they are given a deadline by which they need to pay back the money. If the deadline is missed, banks can often start calling unnecessarily and harassing the debtors. For example, thousands of people have complained about harassing calls from Comenity Bank in the last few years.
Although banks are allowed to remind their debtors about their impending debts, there are certain rules that they need to follow. If you believe that your bank is harassing you and not following the rules, you have the right to take action against them.
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Are You Dealing With Bank Harassment?
If a bank or a financial organization calls you multiple times a day even after you have told them not to, it falls under harassment. Some organizations place multiple automated calls to push their debtors to pay back. Sometimes, people are harassed for loans they haven’t even taken or have already paid back.
Some people are asked to pay a lot more than what they owe. Some people have reported that these organizations use obscene language and even threaten people with violence. Many people experience public embarrassment as these banks contact their workplace, family, and friends, telling them about their debts.
Here are some things that can be considered bank harassment:
- You are getting multiple automated calls every day.
- You are getting calls before 8 AM and after 9 PM.
- You are getting contacted when you are at work even though you have asked them not to.
- You are getting threats of violence and arrest.
- The bank is using vulgar language with you.
- The confidential information regarding your debts is being shared with your friends and family to force you.
- The bank is asking you to pay loans you never took.
- They are forcing you to pay extra interest or fees.
- Harassing you via social media, text messages, or email.
- The bank calls you pretending to be an attorney or the government or without clearly stating their true identity.
Know Your Rights
The government has set rules to stop banks from harassing their consumers. As a consumer, you have certain rights as well.
If you get multiple automated calls despite telling the bank that you do not want them to contact you, you can receive a compensation of USD 500 to USD 1500 per call under the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). If a bank is calling you at inappropriate times, harassing you at the workplace, or contacting you instead of your attorney, you may get up to USD 1000 under Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in California.
If a bank threatens you with legal action when none is needed, they can be held responsible for it. In many cases, the consumer can sue the bank or the financial organization for harassing them.
What Can You Do About It?
If you or a loved one is being harassed by a bank, there are many things you can do to stop it.
Take The Call
When the bank calls you, pick up the call. Ask them about their identification details and information about the debt they are talking about. There may be a misunderstanding which can be resolved by talking. They may also have something important to say which will help you in turn.
It is crucial to verify that the call is legit. You should ask the caller to give you their name, mailing address, details of the organization you owe the money, how much money you owe, and any fees, interest, or other charges that you need to pay. You should also ask what you should do in case the debt is not yours and has been falsely added to your account. This can help you understand what to do next.
Kindly talk mindfully when you take these calls as they are recorded and can be used against you in the future.
Block Spam Calls
If you are receiving unnecessary calls daily, you can use call-blocking applications. It will block all spam calls and texts for you. It may not be much effective if the bank uses automated and computer-generated numbers to call. However, it may still help. You can use similar applications to block spam emails and other messages.
Contact The Bank
You can contact and ask the bank not to call or message you. You can do so by email or written letters. If you send a letter, keep a copy and pay for the return receipt. This will help you prove that the bank did indeed receive your request. Once they receive the request, they can not contact you anymore.
You can also hire an attorney and ask the bank to contact you through them. Once stated, the bank cannot call you unless the attorney has not responded to them within the specified time.
Contact A Lawyer
If you believe that you are being harassed by a bank and simply requesting them not to is not helping, you can contact a lawyer or a legal firm. They can help you analyze the situation and find a way out of it.
If you want to sue the organization, a lawyer can help you decide if it is feasible. They can also help you prepare a case. A complaint can be filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the State Attorney General’s office.
Keep a note of all the times the bank has called and harassed you. You can note down the date, time, and telephone numbers, as well as the content of those calls. If possible, keep a recording of those calls and have witnesses present. If you can prove that the bank was intentionally harassing you and it has caused you emotional distress and financial loss, you may win the case.
If you have lost a job or suffered any other forms of loss, the court may ask the bank to pay you for the damages.