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Lawsuits Against Collection Agencies for Harassment of Debtors


A creditor has a right to use a collection agency to attempt to collect unpaid debts. It does not, however, have the right to use the collection agency like an “attack dog.” North Carolina law provides that it is unlawful for collection agencies to use harassment to attempt to collect debt. If a collection agency does use such tactics, the debtor can sue for money damages. The Raleigh civil litigation lawyers of Maginnis Law regularly represent debtors in lawsuits against collection agencies. For a free consultation regarding your potential case, contact attorney Shawn Howard at (919) 526-0450. You may also send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.

By statute, collection agencies are defined to include certain in-house collection departments, debt buyers, and companies that pursue the debts of other creditors. N.C.G.S. § 58-70-100 states that “[n]o collection agency shall use any conduct, the natural consequence of which is to oppress, harass, or abuse any person in connection with the attempt to collect any debt.” The statute sets out examples of such harassment. The first such example is that collection agencies may not use profane or obscene language to attempt to collect debt. If the collection agency is swearing, cussing, or yelling at you, contact our firm, as such conduct is clearly unlawful.

The collection agency is also not entitled to place collect telephone calls unless it identifies itself. It also may not call you so often “as to be unreasonable or to constitute a harassment” or call you during your normal sleeping hours. Finally, assuming the collection agency has your home or cell phone number, it may not call you at your place of employment after you have instructed it not to do so. This is a major violation of the statutes, as it can subject you to ridicule and difficulty in the workplace.

If the collection agency has violated any of the above rules, or engaged in any other harassing tactics, the attorneys of Maginnis Law can help you fight back. In a civil lawsuit against the collection agencies, you can pursue actual damages, such as emotional pain and suffering, and a statutory penalty against the collection agency from anywhere between the amount of $500.00 and $4,000.00 per violation. Our attorneys will represent you on a contingency basis such that you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless and until we make a financial recovery for you.

For a free evaluation of your case, contact the Raleigh debtor attorneys of Maginnis Howard at (919) 526-0450. You may also send us an email inquiry via our contact page. We represent parties in and around eastern North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Fayetteville, Apex, and Morrisville.