When dealing with debt collectors, you have certain rights that the law protects. Debt collectors also have laws to follow which dictate what they can and cannot do.
Along with harassment of various descriptions, debt collectors also cannot misrepresent themselves. But what does misrepresentation look like in the first place?
Defining misrepresentation vs. harassment
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau looks into debt collector misrepresentation. This differs from harassment in several notable ways. For one, misrepresentation leans more into feeding nonsensical fears or outright lying to a victim to convince them to pay up immediately or risk horrendous consequences. Harassment typically resorts to violence and direct threats to achieve a similar goal.
Common examples of misrepresentation include pretending to have more authority or legal power than one actually holds in reality. For example, a debt collector may pretend they have a warrant out for someone’s arrest when they do not.
They might even have other debt collection agents play the role of a lawyer, trying to trick a victim into thinking that they could lose their house or worse if they do not pay up immediately.
Lying about the debt itself
Misrepresentation can also come in the form of the money involved in the debts owed. Sometimes, a debt collector will inflate the amount due in order to make it seem like a much bigger deal than it is. This is another way of applying false pressure to the victim to make them feel like they have to act immediately.
Since these are actually illegal acts, it is possible to take action against the debt collectors who would attempt to utilize such tactics.