by Sara
(Kenbridge, Va)

I leased furniture from a company and missed a payment. Associates from the company have showed up to my work three times and talked to me infront of my customers and employees. Can they legally do this?

Comments for harrasment

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May 14, 2010
Trying to collect at workplace
by: Mary

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

Although the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) FDCPA) does not specifically address your particular situation and although I am not an attorney, I believe that having your creditor speak to you about the money you owe in front of your fellow workers and customers might be considered harassment, which is illegal under that law.

Also, the FDCPA gives you the right to privacy regarding your debt and certainly talking to you about the money you owe in front of others violates that right. (Note: A creditor or debt collector trying to collect a debt is entitled to contact your employer or someone you know to find out how to locate you if they do not have that information, although they are not entitled to indicate why they want to locate you. Obviously in your situation however, the furniture leasing company knew how to contact you.)

I suggest you take several actions:

First, read your lease agreement to find out what rights you have and what rights the leasing company has if you miss a payment. Some contracts provide that missing just a single payment cancels the contract and gives the owner of the furniture the right to repossess the leased furniture; other contracts provide for a grace period during which a consumer can make up the missed payment and keep the leased furniture. If your lease provides for a grace period, if you want to keep the furniture you are leasing and assuming the grace period has not expired, you should pay what is past due, assuming you can afford it. If not, you should return the furniture before it is taken from you, which would harm your credit history should the leasing company report the repossession to the credit reporting agencies.

Second, you ought to contact a local consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases to discuss what happened to you at your workplace and whether you should take legal action. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

Best of luck and get back in touch to let us know how things turn out for you.

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