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Dealing with debt collection issues.
When a debt collector calls or writes, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either you’ve fallen behind on payments, or there’s an error on one of your accounts. Regardless of the reason you’re being contacted, you have a legal right to be treated properly and not lied to or harassed. All too often, debt collectors use questionable or deceptive tactics to try to bully you into making a payment. These tactics may be illegal under Federal and/or state law. If you have received contact from a collection agency or a law firm acting as a debt collector, we can help – at no cost to you.
How you're protected.
Under Federal law, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from unfair debt collection practices. If the debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you can sue for both actual and statutory damages. Not only that, you won’t have to pay the attorney’s fees – the law provides that the consumer’s attorney’s fees will be paid by the debt collector.
What debt collectors may not do.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors may not – either over the phone or through the U.S. mail or email:
- harass, oppress, or abuse you
- contact third parties (neighbors, relatives, co-workers) and discuss details of your debt
- continue collection efforts after you write them to stop
- continue collecting after you write to tell them you’re represented by an attorney
- use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt.
- represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau
- misrepresent or inflate the amount of your debt
- place private or personal account information about you on, or visible through, any envelope
- threaten to garnish your wages for most debts (Pennsylvania residents)
- threaten to take an action they can’t take legally or don’t intend to take
- fail to disclose that they’re a debt collector
- give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau
- collect any amount greater than your debt, unless expressly permitted by law or your contract
- call you at any time known to be inconvenient for you. This generally means not after 9:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m., but can include other hours, for example, if the collector knows you work a night shift, or are too ill to handle phone calls.
- miscalculate interest, penalties or other charges
- sue on or threaten legal action on a time-barred or "stale" debt
- Threaten IRS reporting or tax consequences if untrue.
- Threaten a lawsuit when none is intended.
Collectors may call you at work, but if you tell them you are not able to accept calls, they may NOT call you there. You should write the collector to confirm they contacted you and that you requested they not call you during work hours. This letter should be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt. If the collector continues to call, document the calls by creating a Call Log, and contact us.
Not sure if your rights have been violated?
Contact us today. Our staff will review your case and determine if you have a reason to take action against the debt collector.