Debt CollectionDid you know that law firms may be considered
Now more than ever, Debt Collector/Law Firms are harassing consumers. A company may sell your delinquent contract or credit card to an outside collector; a professional firm specializing in intimidating consumers into paying these debts. The debt collection agency may make much of its revenue from:
- over-charging for their fees;
- adding interest to which you didn't agree;
- securing a payment from your regardless of how small;
- attempting to collect upon debts which are outside the Statute of Limitations.
What is the Statute of LImitations? It is the time frame in which a particular obligation remains "actionable" under the law, thereby permitting a lawsuit to be filed for the breach of an agreement. The following are 2 terms which which are generally applicable to credit cards and govern their Statute of Limitations:
"Account Stated" -the contract is "implied" because of your use of the card and your agreement to the contractual terms, even if there is not a written contract signed by both paries. THE STATUE OF LIMITATIONS IS 36 MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR LAST PAYMENT ON OR USE OF THE CARD.
"Written Contract" -the contract is signed by both parties and the terms of the contract are apparent on its face. THE STATUE OF LIMITATIONS IS 5 YEARS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR LAST PAYMENT ON OR THE USE OF THE CARD.
Regardless of your payment history, if you have been delinquent in your payments, this does not justify abuse. You do not have to be treated disrespectfully or dishonestly. There are steps you can take to resolve these issues with debt collectors, without having to pay unnecessarily high interest and fees as punishment.
If a collection agency or law firm is attempting to collect on an account you never authorized, you may be the victim of identity theft. You are entitled to validation of the debt, and the debt collector should not threaten litiigation until it has been proven that you are the correct individual on the account.
If you think you have been harassed by a debt collector or law firm representing them, ask yourself the following questions. Within the last year, have you:
- Had a collection call from a debt collector/law firm that failed to identify themselves as a debt collection company?
- Had collectors/law firms call your cell phone without authorization?
- Had debt collectors threatened a lawsuit, either on the phone or in writing, on a debt older than 3-5 years?
- Had collection agencies/law firms place embarressing calls to your neighbors, friends, or employer?
- Been lied to or threatened by a debt collector/law firm?
- Been threatened with garnishment, liens, or arrest for not paying a bill?
- Received abusive phone messages from a debt collector/law firm?
- Been cursed at or insulted by debt collector/law firm agents on the phone?
- Received calls from a debt collector/law firm at your workplace after telling the collector not to call you there?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, your legal rights as a consumer have been violated, and there is something you can do about it.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law applicable to all types of debt collectors, including collection agencies and law firmsting as collection agencies. The FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices, regardless of whether you owe the debt or not.
EVEN IF A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED, WE CAN HELP!
What To Do After Being Contacted by a Debt Collection/Law Firm regardings a bill:
- Assume all calls are recorded-they are not obligated to inform you of this likelihood;
- Take notes of or record the telephone calls;
- After the first call is received, the Debt Collector/Law Firm is obligated to send you a "Validation Notice" in writing within 5 days, identifing the original creditor and the amount which is alleged due and owing;
- If you're contacted by a debt collector you have a right to dispute the debt within 30 days, either verbally or in writing. To positively preserve your rights under the FDCPA, send a written dispute after you have received the first "validation notice" from the debt collector.
Even if you owe the debt and cannot pay, you still have rights under the FDCPA. We have helped many clients who actually owe the debt but because of the bad behavior of the Debt Collector/Law Firm, many of them have had the debt reduced or eliminated.
In order to preserve your rights under the law, it's important for you to keep good records of all of the contacts. You should remember these important steps to protecting yourself from a debt collector:
- DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENTS OR AGREEMENTS TO PAY THE DEBT UNTIL THEY PROVE YOU OWE THE DEBT.
- Request "Validation of the Debt" and all documents related to the debt via certified mail. (DOWNLOAD: Debt Validation Letter - MS Word Format)
- Save copies of all letters and notices from debt collectors and/or law firms.
- Save/record all phone calls with collectors and log them into our FREE provided call log. (DOWNLOAD: Collection Call Log - MS Word Format)
- When you have identifed the caller and their address, send a Cease and Desist Letter to stop the harrassing phone calls by Downloading the following: .userfiles/file/Cease & Desist Letter(1).pdf
WARNING: Your right to file a lawsuit does have a deadline.
If you have suffered from any abusive debt collection practices, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact our office for a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION at 405-912-3225.