Stop Abusive Debt Collectors
Here is some information you might find helpful in dealing with collection situations, by using the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Martin Pelmore said Collection agents and some collection attorneys must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC §§ 1692 et seq. (FDCPA). The FDCPA regulates the language that collection agents can use in collection letters. If you receive a collection letter, it is a good idea to check out the letter with an attorney who practices in this area of law.
Some of the letters sent by collection agents contain false or misleading information. Others attempt to confuse you as to your rights. If any collection letter you have received violates the law, you may be entitled to sue the collection agency for damages of up to $1,000, plus get back all of your attorneys fees.
Because this law allows attorneys to collect their legal fees from the violating collection agency, some attorneys will not charge you to take on a case. There are some law firms that practice in this area of law quite a bit, as well as Truth in Lending cases, Consumer Leasing Act cases, and other consumer law matters. You may try to locate some by using a lawyer referral service, or your state bar, if you have received any collection letters.
The FDCPA regulates collection actions in acquisition of location information, communication in connection with debt collection, harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, unfair practices, validation of debts, multiple debts, legal actions by debt collectors, and furnishing certain deceptive forms.
For a good summary of these FDCPA violations, read this short report, 16 Illegal Creditor Actions.
If you find yourself the target of a debt collection action, make sure that the debt collector is staying within the law, or they may face civil liability. Recently, for example, collection agency Perimeter Credit settled charges of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for a $300,000 civil penalty.
It requires only minor effort to stop a debt collector from harassing. Included in this kit, you will find a letter, Sample Letter 5, to use whenever you are contacted by a collection agency. Use the letter to dispute the debt, or any part of the debt, you are not sure you owe. It is the collection agency’s job to make sure they are collecting only the right amount. You should also send copies of this letter to the company for whom the collector is trying to collect. It is very important that you follow the mailing and record keeping instructions provided. If the collection agency violates the law, you will need the necessary documentation to prove it and make them pay. Even if you owe the money, you can still send a letter to tell the collector to stop calling or writing you.
Once the collector has your letter, they should suspend collections and not contact you for 30 days, during which time they should investigate the validity of the debt. Most collectors will not bother to investigate at all. If that collector contacts you after you have disputed a debt without having validated the debt, they most likely have violated the law. Contact your lawyer immediately, the collector could owe you $1,000.
Remember that nothing is foolproof, and you should be prepared to deal with the situations as they come up. Be creative, be flexible, and be persistent. You will be successful.