Are Bank Recovery Agents Crossing the Line? Here is How to Stop Harassment from Recovery Agents
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 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.
Legal remedies to stop harassment from creditors
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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.
The information contained herein is generic in nature and is meant for educational purposes only. Nothing here is to be construed as an investment or financial or taxation advice nor to be considered as an invitation or solicitation for any financial product. Readers are advised to exercise discretion and should seek independent professional advice prior to making any investment decision in relation to any financial product. City Credit Management LLP is not liable for any decision arising out of the use of this information.