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How many times a day can creditors call you before its considered harassment?

Elizaville, NY |

I have been in the hospital for the past 4 months due to pregnancy complications and obviously not bringing in any income. I get calls 15-20 times a day between 6 am to 930 pm from dell financial services. I have spoken to them numerous times about my situation and told them once I start receiving disability I would pay them what I can, and then asked them politely to stop calling me and once I got out of the hospital I would contact them immediately about payments. It stopped for a day or two and now I am receiving anywhere between 20-30 calls a day. I have even called them back speaking to a supervisor and again explained my situation and 2 hours after that conversation ended the calls began again. I would think this is beyond harassment. I just dont know what to do anymore.

I have also saved every phone call I have made to these people and every call I have received from them, including time and dates and the amount of calls.

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Attorney answers 4


There is a law called the FDCPA or Fair Debt Collection Practice Act which restricts telephone calls regarding debts BUT the Act does not apply to the original creditor. So in short, they can call you until you file bankruptcy or pay the bill.


You need a lawyer who understands the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which imposes restrictions on certain kinds of phone call, and the New York laws pertaining to debt collectors and unfair business practices. I'm familar with the reputation of Brian Bromberg and Ronald Kim, and either of them could probably help you. You can get their contact information through the attorney finder at Brian is in Manhattan, and Ronald is in Saratoga Springs, so neither of them is very nearby. But I'm sure they'd give you a few minutes on the phone.


Unfortunately, if Dell is the original creditor, there is no legal limit to the number of times they may call on a weekday. You may want to consider filing a bankruptcy if you cannot afford to settle with them and you other creditors. With today's computer phone dialing technology, the harassing phone call is ubiquitous. One of the beautiful aspects of the bankruptcy law is the automatic stay provision which makes it a violation of law for your creditor to contact you after you file. My clients are SO HAPPY when they file because the phone calls stop! Good luck!

Walter C Oney Jr

Walter C Oney Jr


There may, however, be a cause of action under the TCPA because Dell is almost certainly using a predictive dialer. Automatically dialed calls to cell phones or hospital phones are absolutely verboten regardless of their purpose. And these claims can now be brought in federal court after the Supreme Court's ruling in Mims. With damages of $1,500 per call available, this is definitely worth following up with a lawyer who knows the TCPA well.


I think the "happy medium" in the advice given by the attorneys above, is that you consult with a bankruptcy attorney who is also experienced in consumer protection litigation. Although a bankruptcy filing may indeed be the best overall option, there may still be claims that can be brought against Dell for this excessive amount of phone calls. Although it is true that Dell can't properly be sued pursuant to the FDCPA, many states have laws regulating debt collection by original creditors. I see that some of these attorneys practice in your state, so they may likely more informed about the lack of such a statute there, but even so, Mr. Oney cites a statute that may provide relief (generally speaking if the calls were made to your cell phone by an "automatic dialing machine" and Dell did not have consent to call your cell phone). Either way, a consult from an attorney in your area who is qualified in bankruptcy and other consumer protection litigation would probably be your best option.

This info is for basic information only and no attorney-client relationship should be construed. If you need actual legal representation, you should consult with a lawyer in your area who is licensed to practice in your state.

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