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Are Bank Recovery Agents Crossing the Line? Here is How to Stop Harassment from Recovery Agents

How to stop recovery agent harassment?

In India, consumer rights have been disregarded for a long time, especially when collecting outstanding dues like bank loans and credit cards. There are numerous cases of oppressive and illegal conduct by recovery agents attempting to collect pending or missed dues on behalf of the banks.

In the past few years, there have been many instances where borrowers were harassed and threatened by recovery agents for their unpaid debt. Many recovery agents have even made surprise visits to a borrower’s home to mock them in front of their neighbors and friends.

Some borrowers have faced not only humiliation but also intimidation and physical threats. Borrowers have developed serious mental conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression in the worst cases.

Unfortunately, some borrowers even committed suicide. The recovery agents are ignorant of the plight of the borrower and unwittingly destroy their lives.

Recovery agents seek clients’ information and visit their offices or organizations that owe installments to banks. Banks can hire a third-party agent to complete the transaction. These agents are generally considered a third party since they are not a part of the original contract.

What Is Recovery Agent Harassment?

Recovery agent harassment refers to the aggressive and illegal tactics used by debt collection agents to recover unpaid debts from individuals. It includes behaviours like continuous and threatening phone calls, using abusive language, harassing family members or colleagues, making false threats of legal action or arrest, or visiting the debtor’s home or workplace without permission. 

Such actions can cause immense stress and mental trauma to the debtor and may also violate their rights under the law. Many countries have laws in place to protect debtors from recovery agent harassment and provide avenues for filing complaints and seeking legal action against such behaviour.

If you are facing recovery agent harassment, there are some important things you should know:

  • It is illegal: In most countries, recovery agent harassment is illegal and violates the rights of the debtor.
  • You have all the rights: Under the judicial law, you do have the right to privacy, respectable treatment, and protection.
  • You can take action: You have the right to file a complaint against the recovery agent with the relevant authorities or regulatory bodies. You can also take legal action against those agents who harass you for collection.
  • You should keep records: Keep a record of all communication with the recovery agent, including phone calls, messages, and visits. 
  • Seek support: Dealing with recovery agent harassment can be stressful and overwhelming. More importantly, getting support from friends, family, or counsellors both physically and mentally is needed.
  • Remember, recovery agent harassment is illegal, and you have the right to protect yourself from such behaviour. If you are facing such a situation, it is important to take action and seek help.

What is considered harassment by recovery agents?

If your recovery agent tries to collect the money owed by engaging in any of the unlawful behaviors listed below, it may be considered harassment. These actions include:

  • Contacting your friends and families about your debt.
  • Seeking information about your friends on social media to humiliate you in front of them.
  • Putting mental pressure on you to pay their credit.
  • Threatening you or your relatives.
  • Making use of third-party agents to pursue their credit.
  • Identifying themselves as bank officials.
  • Attempting to humiliate you with an uninformed visit at your workplace or home.
  • Insulting you in front of other people by saying you’re in debt and you cannot make the payment.

In case you as a borrower are on the defaulting list and are stuck into Harassment from Recovery Agents, you will need to keep in mind a few things:

  • Talk to the lender: The first thing you will need to do is talk to the lender or the agent who is collecting your funds. It is mandatory to be open and transparent to the lender about your financial situation so they can come up with some solution. Many a time, the lender would offer you a repayment plan or other solution so you can get back on track
  • Know your rights: You should be aware of your rights when it comes to Harassment from Recovery Agents under the FDCPA act (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). The FDCPA outlines rules that debt collectors must follow when attempting to collect a debt. For example, debt collectors cannot use abusive or harassing language, threaten legal action they cannot take, or call at unreasonable times.
  • Keep track of the records: You will need to keep track of all the records in terms of communication when it comes to harassment from recovery agents. This also includes emails and letters. This can help them keep track of any agreements made and provide evidence in case there are disputes or legal issues.
  • Go for professional help: If you are not sure of how to handle the debt situation, then seeking help from a financial advisor is viable. These professionals can provide guidance on managing debt, negotiating with lenders, and creating a budget to help avoid future financial issues.
  • Be proactive: It is important for borrowers to be proactive in addressing their debt issues. Ignoring calls or letters from debt collectors will only make the situation worse. By taking action and communicating with their lender or collection agency, borrowers may be able to avoid legal action and get their debt under control.

RBI guidelines for recovery agents

  1. Agents are not allowed to violate your privacy

As per RBI guidelines, a recovery agent is not allowed to violate your personal space. It means that the third party cannot discuss the loan with your colleagues, friends, or families. In the event he does this, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the recovery agent.

  1. Agents must identify themselves

You must verify the identification of the recovery agency when they arrive to collect the money. The bank provides each agent with an official identification card as a representative for the bank. Make sure they do not refuse to show their identity. If they refuse, immediately call the bank or the police.

  1. Recovery agents should not use abusive language

Recovery agents have a few protocols to follow and uphold. For example, recovery agents have no right to use abusive language to collect money from the borrower on behalf of banks. In addition, even though they are collecting pending dues, they must treat all clients respectfully.

  1. Agents cannot contact you at odd hours

Per RBI guidelines, a recovery agent can contact you between 7 am and 7 pm. They have no right to contact you at odd hours before 7 am or after 7 pm.

You can also ask the recovery agent to call you later if you work in shifts by giving them an appropriate time. However, they cannot force clients to communicate at an inappropriate time.

Legal remedies to stop Recovery Agent Harassment

Filing a complaint at the police station-

You can file a formal complaint against the bank or the third-party agent. Once you file a complaint against them, it will stop their constant harassment for credit recovery.

Filing an injunction suit against the recovery agents-

You can file a civil injunction suit in court with interim relief against the bank and recover damages for harassment. Legal action against the authorities will prevent creditors from visiting the person’s home to recover their credit.

Filing a defamation suit-

You could file a defamation complaint against the bank and recovery organization if the credit lenders relied on inaccurate data to cause a person’s CIBIL score to appear low.

Trespassing-

Borrowers may sue banks directly for violating and trespassing if the bank’s debt recovery agents illegally enter borrowers’ homes or offices without prior approval or consent.

Extortion grievance-

If the recovery agents force you to recover the money, individuals can file an extortion case against them.

Complaint to your bank-

If you’re facing any kind of harassment from a third-party agent, you can take that complaint directly to the bank. Ideally, you should communicate your concerns with the bank manager.

Conclusion & Norms On How to Stop Harassment from Recovery Agents

In conclusion, borrowers who are experiencing harassment from recovery agents have several options available to them.

It is worth noting that there are strict norms and regulations in place to prevent harassment by recovery agents. For example, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued guidelines that prohibit recovery agents from using abusive language, threatening violence, or calling at unreasonable hours. In addition, the FDCPA in the United States and similar laws in other countries provide protection for borrowers against abusive debt collection practices.

If a borrower is experiencing harassment from a recovery agent, they can file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory authorities or seek legal assistance. By taking action and advocating for their rights, borrowers can put a stop to harassment and work towards resolving their debt issues in a fair and respectful manner.

SingleDebt is the solution if you’re being harassed by a creditor and need immediate protection. They will help you resolve your debt problems, stop harassment from creditors, and pursue legal action. SingleDebt has a team of advocates and paralegals that will answer your harassing calls from creditors. All you need to do is sign up to get your first credit counseling consultation for free.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of illegal loan apps, there are solutions for you. SingleDebt can help cease harassment from these agents and handle the legal side for you. We urge you not to resolve this alone as this can lead to further harassment. Contact SingleDebt on +91 961 910 3594 or fill out the form either on the home page or contact page

2 thoughts on “Are Bank Recovery Agents Crossing the Line? Here is How to Stop Harassment from Recovery Agents”

    1. Fahad khan July 22, 2023

      Dear Sir / Madam

      Kindly suggest i have many credit card

      Total outstanding 28lkah including loan.
      I dont have money till date.
      Customer care continue calling.
      Regards
      Fahad khan

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