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Debtor's rights under fair debt collections act

Vancouver, WA |

I have put myself in a financial tight spot since I moved out of state to pursue a new job opportunity. In addition to rent, I also am paying a mortgage (until my house sells) and utilities on both my house and apartment. I have drastically cut down on expenses, discretionary spending, etc. but have found it difficult to make ends meet. I have always paid my bills on time and have maintained an excellent credit rating. In an effort to ease some financial burden, I called my credit card company to see what they could do if anything, to lower my current interest rate. The conversation went on and on and eventually I put the call on speaker phone so I didn't have to continue to press the phone to my ear.

During the course of our conversation the credit counselor gave me options of going into a payment program, debt consolidation as well as few others. I told her that I was not willing to sacrifice my credit rating and would not enter any program that would have a negative impact on my credit score. I repeatedly told her that the only thing that would help me at this time was a reduction in the interest rate. She started to get a bit agitated with me for sticking tight to this position. When I repeated that I was only interested in a lower interest rate she started to get even more irritated.

She then told me that she was tired of people calling banks deceptive and was even more tired of people complaining about banks using deceptive business practices. She then proceeded to call me a deceptive consumer and told me that I am misleading all my other creditors and am being deceptive to them by not disclosing my tight financial position to them. I was shocked at this statement. It was unwarranted and uncalled for. It was also overheard by someone else in the room making it even more embarrassing since she was attacking my character. I realize she probably didn't know that she was overheard by another person but in fact, she was.
I have since lodged several complaints with the credit card company. They had promised to look into the matter and get back to me. So far, they have not communicated with me in any manner. Do I have any legal recourse? I 'm not sure if the representative meant to slander me publically, but she certainly didn't hold back when she thought that it was only the two of us talking.
It isn't only the humiliation; it is the character assault that I am upset about.

Thank you!

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Attorney answers 1


The federal fair debt collection practices act places limits on collection efforts of creditors, such as limiting who a creditor can speak to regarding collecting your debt or when they may call you. Your case does not seem to fall under that act. Your phone conversation was in the context of trying to renegotiate your interest rate. This was not a collection call. Even if it was, the statement made to you was probably not actionable- this was not a threat, etc. Now, if this had been a collection call made to your friend regarding you, and the statement was made, you could possibly have an action under the act. Also, I don't think you would have any other legal recourse under tort causes of action such as infliction of emotional distress because the creditor's comments, although ignorant, would not constitute outrageous conduct which caused you emotional harm.

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