It is not uncommon for Tennessee residents to have a difficult time paying all of their bills on time. With so many obligations, it can be easy for someone to fall behind in this struggling economy. In many cases, people have to make less money stretch further. When people fail to pay their obligations, creditors have rights to collect the money. Depending on the specific type of debt, creditors may seek wage garnishment, repossession or place liens on the property. However, in many cases, creditors will resort to using collection agencies and other harassing methods to try and get a consumer to pay the debt.

Calls from creditors can be annoying and lead to extra stress in a person’s life. This stress can make an already difficult situation even worse. Some debt collections acts have been passed to help protect people from overly aggressive collection agencies and creditors.

However, not every creditor follows these rules and many cross the line into creditor harassment. Last July the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau staring taking complaints about harassing creditors. Since that time, the Bureau has received 11,000 complaints from consumers across the country. This is second only to people complaining about problems with their mortgage.

According to reports, the highest number of complaints — about 25 percent — were that creditors were harassing people about a debt that they did not actually owe. People also complained that creditors were trying to collect money on a debt they couldn’t verify, that creditors were harassing them, collecting an incorrect amount and talking to other people — such as neighbors and family members — about the uncollected debt. At this time, the Bureau had responded to around 30 percent of the complaints, but the majority were unresolved.

People should understand their rights when it comes to creditor behavior. Creditors can easily cross the line when trying to collect a debt. People should also understand that they have legal options that can reduce debt.

Source: CNN Money, “Top debt collection complaints,” Blake Ellis, Feb. 27, 2014