What is a debt collector?
A debt collector is a company that regularly engages in the collection of debts for another. That means that the original creditor is not a collector for purposes of this law. If a new creditor buys the debt from your original creditor, that new creditor can be deemed a debt collector if they bought the debt after the account was already in default. Any person or company that takes on collecting a delinquent debt for the creditor is a debt collector.
What are your options when dealing with a debt collector?
- Keep a call log – record the dates and times of calls, the names of debt collectors, their phone number, and content of the conversation.
- Provide written dispute of the debt. If you received a letter from them that advises you that you can seek validation of the debt within 30 days, then do just that. Seek validation and hold the debt collector responsible for providing you proof of what you owe. If you are outside of that 30 day period, that does not prevent you from disputing the debt. You can still dispute it in writing. If you do, that triggers a requirement of the debt collector to make note of that dispute if they ever report the debt to a credit bureau.
- Send a letter to the debt collector that you wish for them to “cease and desist all communications” OR, if you disagree that you owe this debt, it’s not yours, and you refuse to pay it, send a letter to the debt collector advising them that you “refuse to pay” this debt. If a debt collector calls you or tries to communicate with you after sending a letter to cease and desist or refuse to pay, contact us for a free case review.
Do you speak with the collector and if not, do they leave messages?
If the calls are disturbing, you need to find out who the responsible party is. Find out who the caller is by answering the phone.
How can you stop the calls?
Send them a Cease and Desist letter. This letter tells them to stop all communications. You can check out our website for a sample letter. Be sure to mail the letter certified mail with receipt. It is important to have proof that the debt collector received the letter.
What are your rights as a consumer under the law?
There is a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act designed to protect consumers from abusive debt collectors.
- Harassment and abuse
- Too many calls Calls to friends and family members
- Calls before 8am or after 9pm
- Calls to your work after advising them you cannot take calls there
- Discussing debt with third parties
- Threats to prosecute you or send you to jail
- Threats to take your home or property
I believe my rights have been violated under the FDCPA. What will I get if I decide to pursue an action?
- Make the collectors stop contacting you.
- Recover any actual damages suffered, and/or a statutory damage of up to $1,000
- Attorneys fees and court costs
So what if my rights have been violated? I can’t afford an attorney.
You don’t have to be able to afford an attorney. Under the FDCPA, the attorneys fees are paid by the Defendant. Call experienced attorneys at SmithMarco for a free case reviews and consultations. If you do have a case, there is no out of pocket costs to the client at SmithMarco. Sounds to good to believe it, read our reviews and call us today with your questions and concerns.