Bill collectors and debt collection agencies are out of control today. Fortunately, there is a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) to protect you, as a consumer and as a human being. Under the FDCPA, there are many things that a debt collector CANNOT do to collect a debt including:
- Repeatedly calling you
- Disclosing your debt to a third party;
- Threaten you with a judgment, garnishment, seizure of your property or criminal action;
- Contact you without identifying itself.
- Calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Call you at work after you tell them that work is not a convenient place to receive these calls;
- Lie to you or misrepresent the status of the debt or the amount that you owe;
- Attempt to collect charges to which you did not specifically agree or for which are not provided by law
These are just some of the ways that a debt collector can violate your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Your damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
If a debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA, you may be entitled to the greater of actual damages or statutory damages of up to $1,000 plus costs and attorneys’ fees. Under this law, actual damages including emotional pain and suffering. For example, we had one case against a sham debt buyer named Goldman Roth (there was no one either the name Goldman or Roth at this company), that harassed our client by friending her on Facebook and then disclosing her debt by contacting her other Facebook friends. We obtained $20,000 against this scummy debt collector and others.
How to Deal with Debt Collectors
If you are contacted by a debt collector or a collection agency, take the following action:
- Tell the bill collector to stop calling you;
- Get the collectors name, address, telephone number and fax number;
- Do NOT give the collector any information about you, especially your social security number;
- Never admit that you owe anything;
- If you have caller ID, make a note of the telephone number from which he called you;
- Send a cease and desist letter to the debt collector telling it to stop contacting you. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it must stop contacting you. If the collector continues to contact you, then your rights have been violated under the law.
- Write down everything that you can remember of the conversation as soon as possible, after the conversation such as threats, cursing, yelling or any other behavior exhibited by the bill collector that made you uncomfortable.
Never pay a bill that you are not 100% certain that you owe.
Today, more than ever, you have to be careful about working with debt collectors. We have seen an increase in fake debt collectors attempting to collect money from people who do not owe it. Many people pay the bill because they simply want the harassment to stop. What they don’t realize is that by paying a bill that they do not owe, they have made themselves perennial victims of these debt collectors plus they have given out their own financial information to sleazy individual or company. Moral of the story – NEVER PAY A BILL THAT YOU ARE NOT CERTAIN THAT YOU OWE. If a debt collector gets out of hand and starts to threaten you, call us at Arizona Credit Lawyers. We will handle the situation for you for free.
Debt Collectors HATE Us… you will LOVE Us
We have sued numerous bill collectors and collection agencies over the years. Many of these, we have sued repeatedly. We make them stop calling you and pay you damages. Our services are free to you because under the FDCPA, they are required to do so.