Harassment or Abuse (15 USC 1692d)

Creditor and debt collection laws (federal and state) are designed to stop the abuse and harassment from collection agents and employees of creditors trying to collect debts. Harassment or abuse (15 USC 1692d) includes, but is not limited to, illegal tactics such as threats, obscene, profane, or abusive language and telephone calls designed to scare you into paying a debt right away! If you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, the debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

  1. What is harassment and abuse – 1692D
  2. Threat of violence is illegal – 1692D(1)
  3. Obscene, profane, or abusive language prohibited – 1692D(2)
  4. Publication of a list of debtors prohibited 1692D(4)
  5. Repeatedly calling you by telephone is harassment – 1692D(5)
  6. Calling without meaningful disclosure or legal purpose- 1692D(6)

1. Section 1692D prohibits a debt collector from any conduct that would “harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.” It provides six examples of harassment or abuse, section 1692D(1) – 1692D(6) below.


1. Prohibited actions are not limited to the six subsections listed below as [53 Fed. Reg. 50105] examples of activities that violate this provision.

2. Unnecessary calls to third parties. A debt collector may not leave telephone messages with neighbors when the debt collector knows the consumer’s name and telephone number and could have reached him directly.

3. Multiple contacts with consumer. A debt collector may not engage in repeated personal contacts with a consumer with such frequency as to harass him. Subsection (5) deals specifically with harassment by multiple phone calls.

4. Abusive conduct. A debt collector may not pose a lengthy series of questions or comments to the consumer without giving the consumer a chance to reply. Subsection (2) deals specifically with harassment involving obscene, profane, or abusive language.

2. Section 1692D(1) prohibits the “use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm . . . any person.”

1. Implied threat. A debt collector may violate this section by an implied threat of violence. For example, a debt collector may not pressure a consumer with statements such as “We’re not playing around here–we can play tough” or “We’re going to send somebody to collect for us one way or the other.”

3. Section 1692D(2) prohibits the use of obscene, profane, or abusive language.

Abusive language includes religious slurs, profanity, obscenity, calling the consumer a liar or a deadbeat, and the use of racial or sexual epithets.

4. Section 1692D(3)

Prohibits the “publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts,” except to report the items to a “consumer reporting agency,” as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act or to a party otherwise authorized to receive it under that Act.

5. Section 1692D(4) prohibits the “advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.”

1. Shaming prohibited. These provisions are designed to prohibit debt collectors from “shaming” a customer into payment, by publicizing the debt.

2. Exchange of lists. Debt collectors may not exchange lists of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay their debts.

3. Information to creditor subscribers. A debt collector may NOT distribute a list of alleged debtors to its creditor subscribers.

4. Coded lists. A debt collector that publishes a list of consumers who have had bad debts, coded to avoid generally disclosing the consumer’s identity (e.g., showing only the drivers license number and first three letters of each consumer’s name) does not violate this provision, because such publication is permitted under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

5. List for use by investigator. A debtor collector does not violate these provisions by providing a list of consumers against whom judgments have been entered to a private investigator in order to locate such individuals, because section 805(b) specifically permits contacts “reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy.”

6. Public notice required by law. A debt collector does not violate these provisions by providing public notices that are required by law as a prerequisite to enforcement of a security interest in connection with a debt.

6. Section 1692D(5) prohibits contacting the consumer by telephone “repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.”

1. Multiple phone calls. “Continuously” means making a series of telephone calls, one right after the other. “Repeatedly” means calling with excessive frequency under the circumstances.

7. Section 1692D(6) prohibits, except where section 804 applies, “the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.”

1. Aliases. A debt collector employee’s use of an alias that permits identification of the debt collector (i.e., where he uses the alias consistently, and his true identity can be ascertained by the employer) constitutes a “meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.”

2. Identification of caller. An individual debt collector must disclose his employer’s identity, when discussing the debt on the telephone with consumers or third parties permitted by section 805(b).

3. Relation to other sections. A debt collector who uses a false business name in a phone call to conceal his identity violates section 807(14), as well as this section.

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  1. Repeated calls threatening court action for a family member. All of us by the name Hemedinger are getting these calls and we cannot stop them?

    • Thank you for your question. Do you know the company that is calling? Have you asked them to stop? You may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  2. I have a friend that because of medical reasons has been behind on some bills but has done her best to keep up. She one bill that she called and talked to them and they said they would send her some kind paper work to lower said medical bill. she never received them. they said they sent them 4 times. they told her to check with her mailman. she has lived in this house for over 50 years and has never had trouble getting her mail.

    So needless to say they sent her to collections and she had a phone call this morning that was very upsetting!!!

    my question is can a collection company go in and see how many credits cards you have and check your credit rating?

    just so we are clear she has 1 credit card that is being used for things like oil in her furnace type of emergency and nothing else. just wondering if they can tell her also to take a lone out when she is only able to work 20 hours a week do to that same injury?

    can they demand she take a lone out or use her credit card? and can they find out how many credit cards you have and your credit rating?

    Thank you!!!!!

    • A collection company will usually pull a credit report when collecting on a debt. The FCRA- Fair Credit Reporting Act, considers this a legitimate business purpose.
      Beyond that though you have mentioned several other points that are a concern and depending on the details may be a violation of her consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
      The Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  3. A debt collector left my husband a message on his voice mail telling him to” just go to hell”. I phoned to confront them and after stumbling he started trying to tell me WHY he was contacting my husband. I told him I didn’t care WHY and that he had violated my husband’s rights and that we are reporting them. What is my next step?

    • Save the voice mail and give us a call, you may have experienced a Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. Call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring out how to help you!

  4. A colllection agency has been leaving messages stating they are trying to serve me and that I need to set a time to meet them to get the papers and criminal charges are pending, then when that didnt scare they had a man call and say he was contracted to serve me and called at 6:45am this morning stating he was coming to my house and job to serve me. When I called the collection company yesterday to find out who they were, I didnt get clear information. Can they be sued for such tactics?

    • Criminal charges for an old debt, highly unlikely, this sounds like a junk debt buyer. If they send you a letter please reach out to us we would be happy to evaluate at no cost. 888-595-9111

  5. I am receiving phone calls here at work, first they have left a message at the HR office. then it was forward to me. I return the call to this person and asked them not to call me at work, she replied I can do that to verify employment. But her message stated she wanted me to return a call. Also she claims to have called and left messages at my home, today was her first message. So she called my home, my HR department. myself to asked on a dept we are currently paying off, or been making payments as each month permits the amount. Now they have taken the moneys each time and said this was fine. I am trying to settle all of my dept this way rather than bankruptcy. Other than wanting this person to be blown up, what can I do?

  6. I have two leased vehicles from Ally.Since I lost my job,I have fell behind only one payment on each one.They now call me four times a day with the same questions I have answered before.What caused the late payment? Lost job,and when do you plan to pay?I explained I am on a fixed income,and I pay each one them once a month.Which I do. I told one of the callers why do you call so much. Do they not have memos on my account with my answers.She informed me they can call up to four times a day. This is pure harrassment,I quit answering the phone when I see their number on caller ID.How can I stop their calls?

  7. I leased a car with global lending since then I fell behind on a few of my payments, I’ve been paying my note but I guess it’s not as fast as they would like me to I have talked wit numerous people about what’s going on and I’ll set up a date for me to make a payment before the scheduled date can get there the company is right back calling me, my job, my sister and everybody else, I don’t even know how they got some of those numbers but they call everyday and it’s getting annoying is there anything I can do?!

  8. My question is can a debt collector call you and say, “we are trying to reach you to discuss an important matter with you. At this time we have papers pending. If you do not call us back or contact us to give us the name of your attorney, we may come to your home or job to serve you”.

    Why am i getting served, well i was told because i was in breach of a contract…(not)

    Is this a legal debt collection call.

  9. A debt collection called and failed to hang up the call. In the voicemail she was using profanity that my 3yr old heard. Is there any laws against that?

  10. I think I just witnessed a FDCPA violation.. I was at the local bank waiting in line with a woman who looked to be in her late 60’s and a couple of other people. We were all chatting when a young woman came in to the bank and got in line. The young woman recognized the elderly lady and said “Rose it’s — from Continental Credit. When are you going to come in and pay on —- balance?” Rose said ” I know my son took out this loan not me and I don’t have it, I know it will mess up my credit but I don’t have it.” She was obviously upset. The lady from Continental Credit proceeded to take out her cell and call someone and say “I am at the bank and guess what? I got Rosa —- here.” Omgoodness!! I felt violated along with her. Another woman I was next to said to the lady from the credit company ” Ma’am it is not right what you’re doing you are embarrassing her, you should of pulled her to the side and spoken to her privately.” Rose said “No ,it’s Ok. My son got me in this trouble.” The lady from the credit company said “See now you have embarrassed her, not me”. I said ” I am a Nurse who has worked with the elderly for decades and you are violating her and I believe what you’re doing is illegal”. She was snippy and said ” It is not illegal”. The poor lady was in tears and this all happened in the line at BoA in San Antonio, TX.

  11. I was just informed that a debt collector that just sent a letter last week and called (left a VM) this morning also called my in-laws. I have no idea how they linked them to me but they left a message with them for me to call the collection agency. Is this considered a third party and against the law?

  12. 200 calls in less then 8 hrs consider harassment ? with no voice messages?

  13. an attornies office sent a letter to my sister in laws house . my husbands father had the exact same name as my husband . the letter stated that we are currently delinquent with our house taxes and that on may 27 they were going to auction off my home of 16 years in order to collect a debt oamount of4,725.27 .we had not shared our woes with anyone in our family. now we have humiliated . my father inlaw has been dead for longer than i have known my husband . the address this information was sen t to was my husbands childhood home he has resided at least two other homes before we moved here 16 years ago. he held the mortgage on both of them . they ssaw the same name and just assumed he owned the property. they had already contacted us and were aware of our legal address and correct phone number and still they sent a letter to an address that my husband has lived in since he was a teenager .he is currantly 48 years old . thankyou

  14. I have recently lost my job. I have gotten behind on my mortgage and now they call 3 times per day. They know my current situation because I go over the same thing every time they call. Today is Memorial Day and I am already receiving calls from them. Is there anything that I can do about this?

    While I was writing this message they called again. I verified my name so that she could continue to talk to me but then I explained that collection calls are illegal on a Federal holiday. I asked her if she knew that and she said no. I asked her if it was required for her to work today or if she volunteered. She said it was mandatory.

  15. I live in Oklahoma and I had a credit card they I have not been able to pay on and it closed in 2013′ the company says I owe 1100. They called my boss yesterday and said they have two officers waiting to pick me up and said we would just like you to notify her so she is not embarrassed at work by being arrested. I called not knowing who the company was. They tried to get me to make a payment over the phone and would only allow two payments of the whole bill. They said we will give you two hours to figure out how your going to pay this. In the mean time I called my county court clerks office and I had no warrant and said they have had a lot of people call saying they have had multiple calls stating the same thing. She informed me there is a process to an arrest. The lady called back yesterday to my office several times and today I got a call from someone that says they are an independent processor from Comanche County for this company. I called the Court clerks office and they do not recognize this processors name?

  16. I have a question. I had gotten adt for my home I had just bought. Due to medical bills, and a big pay cut I had to stop service and was forced to chose what bills I paid. Not good I know, but some things took priority. They now have a robo call from 3 different numbers 16 times a day. I have told them not to call 3 times and waited until they told me they were recording the call for legal purposes. They call 7 days a week. We blocked the numbers and they get new ones. The collar id on my tv has logged the calls and the cable company can print out the list. This has been going on for a month and a half. My wife is in and out of the hospital with a heart condition and lupus. This makes it hard for her to rest due to the calls coming from 6 a, to 10 pm every day. We can’t even enjoy peace. If you pick it up a robot tells you to hold for a rep, then your forced to wait so they waste more of your time. I’m on fixed income, there has to be help, I’m a disabled vet, this takes more of a toll then combat. I can’t come home to relax without being harassed. All over 150 bucks, come on now seriously if I had it I would pay.

    • Lots of ways we may be able to help. First, after you tell a robo caller to stop calling, they must stop calling or its a violation of the TCPA which runs $500 to $1,500 per call. Next, if its a debt collector, they too must stop calling after you tell them to stop or its an FDCPA violation worth up to $1,000. Best, we can get you that money if you qualify without charging you out of pocket; we get paid on a contingency or by the collector/caller.

      Finally, if you are judgment proof, you are judgment proof, and we can notify collectors and creditors of that for as little as $20/month through our LawCent program.

      We sent you an email earlier asking you to call the office, if you haven’t yet please do and we’ll get you help. 888-595-9111.

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