When student borrowers fail to pay their student loan bills for any reason, lenders will try to get them to pay. The longer the borrower doesn’t pay, the harder the lender will try. Sometimes, the lender will hire a collections agency to pursue a student borrower who is in delinquency or default, and often these agencies will use aggressive, intimidating, deceptive, or irritating tactics.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and many state consumer rights laws provide substantial protection to consumers who are the subject of debt collection actions, including student loan borrowers. Unfortunately, collections agencies routinely violate the FDCPA because many student loan borrowers are unaware of the laws that protect them. Here are some common ways that they violate the FDCPA:
- Calling you at unreasonable hours (i.e., in the middle of the night)
- Calling you at work after you’ve told them not to
- Threatening to take criminal action against you (i.e., arresting you)
- Contacting you if they know you are represented by an attorney
- Engaging in obscene or abusive conduct (i.e., calling you names, using profanity)
- Repeatedly or continuously calling you with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass you
- Making false, deceptive, or misleading representations
- Misrepresenting your rights with respect to federal student loans
- Contacting family members, friends, or co-workers about your debt
- Using deceptive means to collect information about a consumer
Borrowers who have been the subject of FDCPA violations can bring suit against the collections agency in federal court and collect damages. Often, these suits will settle before trial. If you are being aggressively pursued by a collections agency, you should keep careful, detailed records of all communications.