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An important benefit of filing for bankruptcy protection is that the automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon the filing of your petition. The stay prevents creditors from continuing any collection efforts against you while your[…]
If you have fallen behind on your bills and debt collectors are starting to call, it is critical that you know your rights, including your ability to demand debt verification from the creditor. Debt verification is extremely important because it is possible that the collector has made an error or failed to acquire the necessary paperwork to collect the debt from you.
Requiring creditors to verify the debt is beneficial because it holds the collector accountable. There are certain requirements for verifying a debt under federal law. The process can also confirm that the debt collector follows ethical business practices in its collection efforts against you. It is the only way a consumer can verify that the collector is the owner of the debt and the appropriate party for you to pay. You should note, however, if you fail to request verification of the debt with the first letter sent, the collection activity can continue.
Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a collector is required to respond to your request for debt validation. In fact, the creditor is prohibited from taking any further collection activity against you until the required information has been provided to you. If the collector continues its efforts against you without providing debt validation, you may be able to recover compensation from the collector!
If debt collectors are starting to harass you, it is imperative that you request debt validation. If a collector fails to provide this information to you, let us help you. We can determine whether you should file a lawsuit and seek monetary damages against the collector.
It is important to understand that even if you are pretty certain you owe the debt to the plaintiff, there are still numerous valid defenses that might be available to you. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the collector’s efforts, especially if a lawsuit is filed. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you fight a debt collection, contact one of our seasoned bankruptcy attorneys to schedule your appointment.
If you have fallen behind on your bills, you are probably being contacted by debt collectors. The debt collection industry is known for using harassing tactics to persuade debtors into paying their debt. As a result, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law that was passed prohibiting collection agents from using unfair, misleading or abusive practices to collect money from borrowers.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is anyone who routinely works to recover debts owed to others. Thus, the definition includes collection agencies, lawyers who regularly collect debts and debt-purchasers who try to collect delinquent accounts.
The FTC website provides some guidance in the types of tactics that are prohibited by the FDCPA, including:
Unfair practices. A debt collector must act fairly with you. This means that the collector cannot attempt to collect extra amounts of money that are not allowed by your contract or under the law. It also includes actions such as depositing a post-dated check early, threatening to seize your property when it cannot be done illegally, or contact you using a postcard.
Harassment. If a collector harasses by threatening violence, using profane language, or repeatedly calling you (especially at inconvenient times) to annoy you into paying the debt, it is a violation of the law.
Deceptive statements. Debt collectors are prohibited from lying to you about who they are, the total that you owe, or who they work for or represent. They cannot falsely claim that you are guilty of a crime. The paperwork they send you must be truthful. Also, a collector cannot provide false credit information about you to third-parties, including the credit reporting bureaus.
It is important to understand that even if you are pretty certain you owe the debt to the plaintiff, you are still entitled to be treated fairly and with respect. If you believe a debt collector is violating your rights and harassing you, we can help. Whatever you do, don’t ignore a collection lawsuit. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you stop the harassment or fight a debt collection lawsuit, contact one of our seasoned bankruptcy attorneys to schedule your appointment.