Legal Debt Collection Practices: Then….And Now.

Debt Collector Tactics Through The Ages

Although Shakespeare warned against it, there have always been borrowers. And lenders. But what follows if the debt isn’t satisfied? What steps have creditors responded with?

Debtors Prison

Historically, unpaid debts of any kind could land a person in prison. However, notwithstanding cases like the one in this article where a fine caused by a crime was unpaid, an unpaid debt incurred in a civil setting (purchased goods, services, etc.) isn’t punishable by incarceration.

Harassment And Hounding

Since jailing debtors was no longer an option, creditors turned to all legal techniques then available. These included:

  • Incessant phone calls at any hour imaginable
  • Threats of incarceration (ah, the good old days)
  • Harassment at debtors place of employment

Finally, a civilized society created protection against “inhumane” techniques (used by bill collectors) on those owing money.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act 

In 1978, the United States Government enacted “FDCPA” to prevent the use of abusive, unfair or deceptive tactics on debtors by creditors. The list of forbidden actions includes, but is not limited to:

  • Repeated or continuous phone calls
  • Calling before 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m.
  • Calling at times the creditor knows (or should know) are inconvenient. For example, after being told you are a “day sleeper” who works nights.
  • The use of obscene, abusive, or profane language
  • Adding extra fees or costs not mentioned on the original loan
  • Threatening or using violence
  • Threatening actions they cannot or will not take. This includes wage garnishment, causing you to lose your job, and tarnishing your credit.

Finding Relief From Debt Problems

Acquiring debt isn’t a crime. Violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is. When you feel you’re being harassed by a creditor, contact us immediately. We’ve protected countless clients from undue financial stress!



Please contact our law office concerning your case. The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.