How to Use this Resource

We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

How long can a debt collector pursue an old debt?

Are you getting calls or collection letters about an old debt from years ago? Perhaps you forgot about it, or you simply did not have the money to pay for it at the time.  But now, debt collectors are calling and sending you letters, demanding that you pay up.  You may be asking yourself: What are my rights? Is it legal for the debt collector to demand payment of this old obligation?

Debt Collectors must follow the Law.

In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states, debt collectors can lawfully attempt to collect a debt no matter how old the debt is. However, federal law prohibits debt collectors from making any false, deceptive, or misleading statements in connection with the collection of any debt. This means that they cannot threaten to sue you when the debt is too old and beyond the legal time period allowable to file a lawsuit.

For example, in Pennsylvania the statute of limitations on a debt is four years from the date of default or the date of last payment. But sometimes debt collectors make misleading statements in their collection letters which suggest or imply that they have the right to sue or offer to “settle” the debt. This type of misleading statement violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When a collector violates the law, the consumer may pursue a lawsuit against the collector, and the collector will be responsible for the consumer’s legal fees.

Attempts to Collect Old Debt
Even though a debt collector can still make attempts to collect on old debts for which you cannot be sued, you should think twice before volunteering a payment. First, the amount might not be accurate, meaning that you end up paying more than what was required. Additionally, if you make a payment on an old debt, you run the risk of reviving the statute of limitations on the debt, making it possible for the creditor to sue you for the debt when it previously had no lawful basis to do so.

You’ve been sued?  Do not ignore the lawsuit.


Sometimes, the first time someone learns about a debt is through a lawsuit filed against them.  If you have been sued on a debt, it is very important that you obtain legal counsel.  Do not ignore the summons. Instead, you should seek out legal counsel.

Are debts listed incorrectly on your credit reports?

Debts are often reported to the credit bureaus, and then listed on credit reports. These debts must be accurately listed in all respects.  You can dispute any errors that appear on your credit report with respect to a debt, such as an inflated balance or an incomplete payment history.

 

How to dispute errors with the credit bureaus
When you submit a dispute to the credit bureaus, we recommend that you send the dispute by U.S. Mail, Certified Return Receipt, so that you have a good paper trail of your dispute.  For this reason, we recommend that you do not call the credit bureaus to dispute.  Also, do not submit disputes online. In an online dispute, you run the risk of losing important consumer rights buried in the fine print of the terms and conditions.

Also, when disputing, make sure to explain in detail the error pertaining to the debt.  Gather all supporting documents that illustrate the error and provide it to the credit bureau along with your written dispute.  The credit bureau then has 30 days to either fix the inaccuracy or delete the portion of the credit report that you disputed.

What does Charged-Off Debt mean?
There are limits on how long a debt may appear on your credit report.  Debts that have been “charged off” must be removed from your credit report 7 years and 180 days after the date of the charge off.  If such an old debt appears on your credit report, you can dispute this with the credit bureaus to have it removed.

Get Help from a Qualified Consumer Protection Law Firm
Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm experienced in representing consumers who have suffered from abusive debt collection practices and credit reporting errors.  Contact Us for a free consultation and find out how we can help.

 

The Lender Sold My Repossessed Car. Why am I being sued?

Car auction car lot

Perhaps the worst thing about having your car repossessed is that even after your vehicle is gone, the lender may not be done with you.

In some cases, lenders hire collectors or file lawsuits against borrowers to recoup what they’re owed. In this blog post, we’ll look at steps lenders may take after repossessing a car. 

Continue reading The Lender Sold My Repossessed Car. Why am I being sued?

Car Repossessed? Now Getting Sued by My Auto Lender

Lawsuit with car repossession

Perhaps the worst thing about having your car repossessed is that even after your vehicle is gone, your lender may not be done with you.

In some cases, lenders may file lawsuits against borrowers to recoup what they’re owed. In this blog post, we’ll look at what’s involved with being sued after a  car repossession.

Continue reading Car Repossessed? Now Getting Sued by My Auto Lender

How Debt Collection Laws Help Pennsylvanians

Past due bills debt

When you owe money to a debt collection agency, its employees have the right to contact you and try to recoup that debt.

But those rights only go so far. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates what debt collectors, or law firms acting as collectors, can do when contacting Pennsylvania consumers, and bars them from engaging in deception while trying to recover money that is owed.

Continue reading How Debt Collection Laws Help Pennsylvanians

How to Report a Robocall

Nearly all automated calls to mobile phones are illegal in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but that hasn’t stopped telemarketers and debt collection companies from using auto-dialers to reach consumers.

In some cases, the caller will deliberately falsify the information sent to your caller ID to mask their identity, a practice known as spoofing.

Caller ID Block

The FCC has taken a variety of actions against these companies, including:

  • Issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines
  • Allowing phone companies to block certain kinds of calls that are likely to be illegal before they can get to consumers
  • Giving customers the ability to use call blocking or labeling services
  • Working with phone companies on caller ID authentication

Hot to stop robocalls

If you believe you’re received and illegal call or text, you can file a complaint with the FCC.  The commission also offers these tips to stop unwanted robocalls and protect yourself from phone scams:

Unknown Caller
  • Do not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. If you do answer, hang up right away.
  • Was the call Spoofed? Remember that a caller ID displaying a local number doesn’t always mean that you’re getting a local call.
  • Recorded Voices – If you receive a call that tells you to hit a certain button to end the calls, just hang up.  There’s no magic “report robocall” button. Having you press a button during your call is something scammers do to identify future targets.
  • Never give out personal information – You do not need to provide any personal identifying information, such as your Social Security number, passwords, bank account numbers, etc. – to an unexpected caller. 
  • Set a password for your voicemail. Some voicemail services are set up to let users access messages by calling their own number. A hacker could spoof your number and get into your voicemail if you haven’t created a password.
  • Be wary of callers who immediately ask for information.
  • Talk to your phone company about Call Block technology. You can download mobile apps that can block unwanted calls.
  • Register your number for the Do Not Call List. Reputable telemarketing companies will review the numbers on this list and take care to avoid them.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of unwanted robocalls.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you fight for your rights.

 

How does a “Charge-Off” affect the consumer?

When payments on your account go unpaid, the creditor may stop you from making additional charges and list your account as a charge-off.  But even if the creditor stops trying to collect on your account, you still could be responsible for the debt.

Continue reading How does a “Charge-Off” affect the consumer?

How to Report Telemarketers

The advent of the Do Not Call registry was supposed to put an end to unwanted  robocalls from telemarketers, lenders and debt collectors. Unfortunately, there are always new companies, with new phone numbers, placing new calls.  However, there are ways you can stop unwanted robocalls.  Read on to learn how to get yourself off telemarketers’ lists and how to report do no call violations.

Continue reading How to Report Telemarketers

Midland Credit Management KO’d in Flitter Milz Lawsuit

September 24, 2018/Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Court of Appeals precedential ruling impacts consumers nationwide

In an important ruling this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, PA agreed with Flitter Milz that a collection dun sent to a consumer was deceptive and in violation of the federal law regulating debt collectors.

Midland Credit Management, one of the largest debt-buyers and debt collectors in the United States, sent our client a collection notice stating Midland would “report forgiveness of debt as required by IRS regulations.”  Flitter Milz argued that the debt involved was so small that there is nothing ever to report to the IRS, and the statement about Internal Revenue was just a scare tactic.

The federal appeals court, sitting in Philadelphia, agreed that the consumer might be persuaded into thinking that a settlement may be reportable to the IRS, and this remark is misleading under the consumer laws.  The Court agreed with Flitter Milz, holding that “it is not merely the inclusion of a lie, but also incomplete” language in a collection letter that may violate the consumer laws. The Court has told Midland that ‘half-truths’ to consumers are not good enough.

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing consumers in matters against collection agencies and collection law firms for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. “This victory, is not just for our client and firm, but for consumers across the U.S.”, said Cary Flitter and Andy Milz.

To learn more about this case, Robert A. Schultz, Jr & Donna Schultz v Midland Credit Management, click here .  Consumers with questions about collection contact, calls or letters, from Midland Credit Management, contact us.

Midland Credit Management is a billion dollar purchaser of consumer debt, who collects and files collection lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and across the country.