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4 min read

How to Tell if You’re Being Harassed by a Creditor

Receiving demands for repayment is never an enjoyable experience. If you’re struggling to repay what you owe, the last thing you need is your lender chasing you for money. Although creditors are entitled to contact you about unpaid debts, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between normal chasing and creditor harassment. In the case of the latter, you could report your lender.

Harrassed by a creditor

How often are they calling?

As creditors are entitled to contact you about unpaid debts, they are well within their rights to send you demands by letter and via phone. What matters here is the frequency of communication. A phone call and an email once a day is fine, calling you at unsociable hours several times a day could be considered harassment depending on the circumstances.

Debt is also a private matter so a creditor hounding you through a public forum, such as on social media, is not appropriate. Furthermore, they should not discuss your financial situation with your friends, employer, or family without your permission.

When do they threaten legal action?

Generally, a creditor can threaten legal action – such as in the form of bailiff intervention or a County Court Judgement – but usually only after a certain point. For example, if you’re struggling with credit card debts, the lender should have sent several reminders before getting the courts involved.

If a creditor impersonates an authority or threatens legal action almost immediately after a missed payment, you may have grounds to report them for harassment.

What language do they use?

A lender must treat you and your situation fairly. Therefore, the language they use should be reasonable and non-threatening. If they attempt to coerce you into making repayments, this could be viewed as harassment.

Other examples of possible harassment

Although the above scenarios are generally the most common ways a creditor might cross the line, there are other behaviours which might be viewed as harassment. These can include:

  • Involving multiple debt collection agencies to reclaim unpaid sums;
  • Not informing you an account has been passed to a debt collector or bailiff;
  • Falsely stating legal action has been taken against you;
  • Impersonating a court officer or pretending to be a bailiff;
  • Refusing to give you information about your account if you ask;
  • Using jargon to confuse you.

Further reading