Federal and State laws protect consumers from harassing and damaging collection activities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) limits your creditors in what they can do and say in order to collect unpaid debts from you. Understanding your rights is important as your creditors must follow the law, but you must also enforce your rights against their efforts.
Council Law Group, PLLC is well suited to both educate you concerning your rights and enforce creditor violators. A creditor who violates your rights can be liable to you for damages and may even result in the elimination of a disputed debt.
If you are being harassed by a creditor, Council Law Group may be able to help. Our attorneys and staff are knowledgeable and experienced in helping you stand up to large credit companies.
Know the Collector’s Limitations:
Debt Collectors are prohibited from harassing, oppressive and abusive behavior against both you and third parties (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) when attempting to collect a debt. Debt Collectors may not:
· Use obscene or profane language
· Make repeated calls in an effort to annoy
· Make calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. local time
· Make public a list of people who do not pay their debts (public shaming) except to a credit bureau
· Use threats of violence or criminal prosecution
Debt Collectors may not use or give out false or misleading statements when collecting a debt. For instance, collectors cannot:
· Represent themselves to be attorneys or government officials if they are not
· Represent you will go to jail or be arrested if debts remain unpaid
· Represent you owe more than you do
· Threaten legal action when they either cannot pursue legal action due to limitations or other reasons
· Threaten to seize your property or paycheck if in fact they do not have the legal authority to do so
· Send you documents that look to be official court filings when in fact they are not—this is a scare tactic and is unlawful
Dealing with Third Persons
Further, creditors are prohibited from giving false credit information to anyone, including the credit bureaus.
Automated Telephone Calls
The Federal Government passed into law the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. Subsequently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules to enforce the TCPA in 1992.
Unless you have given the creditor permission to contact you via a pre-recorded message, creditors are prohibited from making such automated calls to you. The TCPA allows for recovery of damages in a range of $500 - $1,500 per violation. There is a likelihood with the original creditor that such communications were authorized in your credit agreement (the dreaded fine print); however, that is likely not the case with a subsequent debt collector.
Stopping Harassing Calls
With the advancement of technology, it has become easier to screen creditor calls. Still, there is a legal method for doing so under the FDCPA. You can stop creditor calls by sending them a letter directing that all future communication be in writing. Further, if a creditor has been notified that you are represented by an attorney, that creditor must communicate through your attorney only.
Embarrassing Calls to Friends and Family
Often creditors will not only contact you repeatedly, but your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and more. This is called “Skip-Tracing”. Again, if you have an attorney, creditors are prohibited from doing this as they are required to work through your attorney. However, if you are unrepresented, creditors are allowed to contact each third-party once in order to obtain contact information for you.
Still, creditors are prohibited from giving out personal information concerning the debt you may owe.
If you believe you do not owe the debt, you have a right to require the creditor to validate the debt before they can continue to collect. You may request the validation at any time. Your creditor will have 30 days from time of receipt in which to respond. If the creditor or collection agency is unable to provide proof of validation, the debt must be stricken from your credit history.
If you believe your rights have been violated by a creditor in an attempt to collect a debt, we may be able to help. Contact us today.
At CLG our attorneys and staff have made it their professional mission to help client find real, practical and attainable solutions to their financial hardships.
The transfer of debt is a large vibrant industry with many “players”. These include original creditors, debt-buyers, collection agencies, attorneys, debtors and more. Understanding the roles and objectives of each is critical in evaluating both the judicial and non-judicial sides of debt collection and remedies.
Our attorneys and staff make it a mission to understand the various strategies and legal defenses for dealing with financial distress and aggressive collectors.
CLG can help take the stress out of creditor collection and be an advocate for you in dealing with creditors both when negotiating a resolution is appropriate and when litigation is necessary.
Creditors who have overstepped can be held liable. Enforcing your rights can lead to the complete elimination of your debt, and potential economic recovery to you.