When Are Too Many Collection Calls Considered Harassment

Many people contact us to complain that they are Past _due _imggetting a high volume of calls from a
collector, and they believe it is harassment.  The
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
states that a collector may
not cause a telephone to ring repeatedly with the intent to harass,
annoy or abuse the person at the called number.
(15 U.S.C. 1692d(5)). 
When on a campaign of calls,
collectors will always defend their actions by claiming that there
is no intent on harassing, but rather they are attempting to
contact the debtor.  However, the calls multiply, and can come
a few times or more daily.   So, when are the calls
considered harassment?

The first factor to consider is the overall quantity of
.  Is it one a day or a week?  Or, is it
multiple calls throughout the day.  Are they close in time to
each other or spread out.  Many courts that have tackled this
issue have found that one or even two calls in a day are not enough
to be deemed harassment.  Collectors claim that they have no
intent on harassing – they just are trying to catch the consumer at
home.  However, when the calls turn into a high volume, it
does not matter so much what the collector intends.  In
certain situations, the multitude of calls can be of such frequency
that it should reasonably be expected to be harassing, and
therefore is deemed
harassment under the FDCPA. 

However, collectors can still get away with multiple calls in a
single day.  If the collector calls once in the morning, once
mid-day, and once in the evening, they can make a strong argument
that there was no harassment as they spaced out the calls to try to
see if the consumer was home at different times of the day. 
What if the calls all came within one hour though?   That
would indeed be considered more towards harassing

Another factor that may be considered in determining whether the
volume of calls is harassment would be whether there had been any
previous responses to the collector calls. 
If the collector makes multiple calls, but never gets an answer,
then it may be harder to prove the calls are an intent to harass
than if the calls are answered.  If the consumer speaks to the
collector and tells the collector that they do not have any current
income, that they don’t expect income, that they are disabled, or
even outright refuses to pay the debt, then the continued calls to
the consumer after that may become harassing.  After all, if a
collector is advised on one day that the consumer is unemployed and
does not have any money to pay the debt, then 3 calls the next day
were entirely unnecessary and can be construed as nothing more than
an attempt to annoy or unnerve the consumer. 

A factor may also be whether the collector is calling the
correct number.  Collection agencies often
find themselves dialing the wrong number – either because it’s the
old phone of the debtor, or they are calling their old
residence.   Surely the collectors argue that they do not
intend to harass the non-debtor.  However, how many times has
the collector been told that the person they are looking for cannot
be found at this number?   In a situation where a
collector is calling a non-debtor multiple times, and has been
warned that they are calling the wrong number, even the person at
the called number who is not a debtor has rights under the

When you’re being pursued by debt collectors, you have
rights, and we’re here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting
consumer rights since 2005. If you feel that you’re rights have
been violated, please contact us for a
free case review.