Can a debt collector threaten me with arrest and harass me on the phone?
Section 806 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits a debt collector from any conduct that would "harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Section 806(5) prohibits contacting the consumer by telephone "repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number." "Continuously" means making a series of telephone calls, one right after the other. "Repeatedly" means calling with excessive frequency under the circumstances.
A debt collector may not contact you at any time or day that unusual. A debt collector may presume that anytime between 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. is convenient unless you inform them otherwise. They may not contact you at work if they know your employer prohibits such contacts or if you tell them that you do not wish to be contacted there. If a debt collector knows you are represented by an attorney, they must not contact you and direct all communications to your attorney exclusively. Finally, a debt collector must cease communications with you if you tell the debt collector that you refuse to pay the debt, or ask them to stop further collection efforts. However, asking a debt collector to cease communicating with you may leave them with no other choice than to file a lawsuit against you to collect the debt. You can stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop. Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact. The agency may notify you if the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action.
For further discussion, please see;
The following is from the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act:
§ 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]
(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing --
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(5) a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
(c) The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.