When a consumer borrows money the creditor expects that they will be paid back. In some cases, however, consumers are unable to pay the money back like they thought they would. In today’s economy this is not an unusual situation for Tennessee residents. Job loss, student loans and medical emergencies can all contribute to a consumer’s inability to pay.

When a Tennessee resident falls behind on payments, creditors may exercise their creditors’ rights and hire a collections agency to collect the debt. In these cases, debt collectors can easily overstep their bounds and harass consumers. Creditor harassment usually occurs as an attempt to get consumers to pay their debts. This harassment can include embarrassing, harassing and non-stop contact over a particular debt.

However, in these situations consumers need to understand that they have legal rights. Creditor harassment is unacceptable in many situations. Creditors — collection agencies in particular — have very specific guidelines that they must follow while trying to collect a debt.

If a Tennessee resident is subject to creditor harassment, there are steps that they can take to make it end. First, people should make sure to get the name of the collection agency or company that is engaging in harmful collection practices. Then, the consumer can report them to government agencies — including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — or to the Tennessee State’s Attorney General’s officer. Complaining in writing to the debt collector can also help to stop the ill treatment.

While there are options to stop creditor harassment, there are also options for eliminating debt. People who are struggling to pay all their financial obligations should carefully consider all their options for debt relief.

Source: U.S. News, “How to Deal With Harassing Calls From a Bill Collector,” Geoff Williams, May 13, 2014