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?

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 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?

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.

Collection Contact After a Debt is Paid

Sometimes collectors contact consumers and ask for payment on a debt that was already satisfied. Whether the collector made calls or sent letters, the consumer may be left confused and uncertain about whether there was a clerical error or if the collection effort is a scam.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines actions that debt collectors can and cannot take. If collectors contact you about a debt that was already paid, you have the right to request proof of the debt and how it was calculated. You can also request confirmation that the collector is permitted to collect the debt.

Check Your Records

Once a debt has been assigned or sold to a collector, the consumer may request information about the debt from the collector, not from the creditor. If you are not sure whether a claimed debt is owed, gather your account statements, bank records, and payment history. It may also be helpful to obtain current credit reports. These documents will assist in determining whether money is still owed. Once you’ve reviewed your papers, write the collector to dispute the debt.  Be sure to enclose documentation with your letter that proves the debt was satisfied.

Request Proof from the Collector

If you do not have proof showing payment of the debt, obtain payment information from the debt collector. You may request that the collector provides account statements from the creditor, which show the period when your last payment was made. Send a letter to the collector asking for verification of the debt and how the claimed balance was calculated.

Document Your Contact

Good record-keeping which shows your account payment history will help any disputes sent to the collector.  Maintain a file of all correspondence with the collector, including documents showing proof of payment – such as cancelled checks, money order receipts, etc.

When collectors contact you by phone, keep a log of the calls noting the date, time of day, caller ID, name of collection agent and agency, phone number where the call was received, and details of any phone conversations, messages, or texts.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of collection calls and letters that you’ve received.  There may have been a violation of your consumer rights.

Stay Calm When Debt Collectors Call

When it comes to debt collection, it’s important to find a balance between looking out for scams and ensuring you pay the debt you actually owe. You should begin by establishing whether or not you owe the debt the collector is contacting you about. Debt negatively affects your credit report and credit score. Make sure you take action to resolve any debts you owe.

Your rights against Abusive Collectors

To verify that the collection contact is legitimate, ask questions to find out the name of the collection agency or collection law firm and where they are located. Also, request details about the debt including the name of the original creditor, the account number, and the balance claimed. You can write to the collector and request a validation and itemized calculation of the debt.

As a consumer, you’re protected against harassment and other unfair practices by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It’s important to ensure collectors aren’t using unfair tactics against you. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot:

  • Contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without permission
  • Continue to call your place of employment after you ask them to stop
  • Contact friends, family or neighbors and disclose information about the debt to them
  • Harass you using threats or profane language
  • Lie about who they are or the debt you owe

Take the Appropriate Action

Once you know whether or not you owe the debt, figure out an action plan. If you owe the debt, you may want to establish a payment plan. You’ll need the collector to provide written documentation showing the total balance owed. Then, figure out how much you can pay each month until the obligation is satisfied. If you enter a payment plan with a collector, be sure to obtain written confirmation of the payment terms, the payment due date, and where your payment should be sent. Keep accurate records of all payments made and when they were applied to your account.

If you’re convinced that you do not owe the debt, write a dispute letter to the collector.  Include any proof that shows the debt was already paid or does not belong to you.  Be sure to keep a copy of your dispute letter for your files.  Request the collector respond to you in writing.

Stop Collection Contact

At any time throughout the process, you can write a Cease and Desist letter to the debt collector that states they need to stop contacting you. This may be be helpful if the debt collector is contacting you at work, during odd hours, or if you feel your consumer rights are being violated. Be sure to send your correspondence to the collector by certified mail with a return receipt. It’s important for you to have proof that your letter was received.

A Cease and Desist letter does not make the debt go away. Often the collector will transfer the debt to another collector or back to the original creditor. Once a Cease and Desist letter is sent to a collector, that collector is not permitted to contact you again or attempt collection. If the collector contacts you after receiving your Cease and Desist letter, reach out to a qualified consumer protection attorney to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Seek Free Legal Help 

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of whether your consumer rights have been violated.

 

Do You Actually Owe a Debt?

When a debt collector contacts you to collect payment on an account, it can be scary and overwhelming, especially if the debt in question is unfamiliar to you. Collectors may contact you from an agency you’ve never heard of, and some may even threaten legal action against you.

It’s possible that you don’t recognize the debt because the original creditor assigned it to a collection agency or sold it to a debt buyer. Collection lawyers may also try to collect on debts in certain situations. However, it’s also possible that you don’t recognize the debt because you don’t owe it.

What to do when you’re contacted by a debt collector

Whenever you receive any debt collection contact, the collector is required to mail a letter within five days that tells you the amount of the debt and the original creditor. This letter should also explain your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you don’t receive this letter, it could be a sign that the collector may not be legitimate.

If you receive this letter and still don’t recognize the debt, write to the collector and request proof of the debt and how they’ve calculated the amount claimed. If you have proof the debt was paid, include these documents with your dispute letter.  Always keep a copy of any correspondence with the collector.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection contact.  Contact Us for a free legal evaluation of collection calls or letters that have been sent to you.

Debt Collection Against Military Personnel

When an account goes into collection, it’s stressful and overwhelming for anyone. But debt collection can be especially troublesome for military service members. Financial trouble could result in negative consequences like loss or denial of security clearance.

Frequent moves and relocations can make it difficult for service members to keep up with bills and collection notices. Set up automatic payments when you can and always make sure to update your address to avoid missing bill payments.

If an account does go into collection, debt collectors often use shady tactics to try and collect payments. However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors from threatening to reduce a service member’s rank or security clearance. They are also not allowed to threaten to contact chain of command. Learn more about what debt collectors can’t do under the FDCPA.

Military personnel are also protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This legislation provides some protections against car repossession for those in the military.

Make sure to educate yourself on how to manage your finances and learn about the laws that exist to protect you. Learn how to get a free copy of your credit report, and how to dispute errors in your credit history.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive debt collection tactics, credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues and wrongful vehicle repossessions.  Contact Us for a free legal consultation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

What Debt Collectors Don’t Want You Know

It can be scary and overwhelming when a debt collector starts contacting you about unpaid bills. With household debt at $12.7 trillion in the United States, this is a reality that many Americans have to face every day. However, there are certain things that debt collectors don’t want you to know about their collection tactics. Learn more about what they can and can’t do so you’re better prepared when they contact you.

Collectors must follow the law

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from unfair debt collection practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the act, which prohibits collectors from using abusive or deceptive tactics to get you to pay. They can’t threaten you, make false statements, or misrepresent how much you owe.

Request the collector stop contacting you

If a collector is relentlessly contacting you, you can ask them to stop. Send a Certified letter to the collector and request they cease and desist contact with you.  The collector must stop contacting you. However, this doesn’t make the debt go away. The debt will most likely be reassigned to a new agency or law firm to attempt collection.

If calls are disruptive, you can also ask that the collector only contact you during certain hours of the day.

Collectors may not contact anyone but you

In some cases, debt collectors will contact family members, neighbors or friends to get your contact information. While this is acceptable, the collector is not allowed to share details about your debt. If they do so, it could be a violation of your consumer rights.

If a family member, neighbor or friend has been contacted about your debt, ask that person to write a statement with details about the contact. They should include the date, time of day, name of the collector, and details about any phone conversation or messages left. Have this statement reviewed by a qualified consumer protection attorney.

You’re entitled to a debt validation

Under the FDCPA, you should receive a letter in the mail within five days after a collector contacts you. The letter should state the amount of the debt and the name of the original creditor. If you don’t dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving this letter, the collector can assume the debt is valid.

If you dispute the debt, you can write the collector and request validation of the debt and an itemization that shows how the balance was calculated.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of call and letters that you’ve received from collection agencies or law firm collectors.