Many debt collectors engage in illegal and malicious practices to prey on innocent debtors like you.  Debt collectors regularly violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Bankruptcy Code and Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Saeed & Little, LLP will take the fight to these debt collectors and not only help negotiate a reduction of your debt but also occasionally help put money back in your pocket.  The following are some federal statutes that protect consumer rights:

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) was enacted to protect consumers from debt collection harassment and deceptive collection practices.  The following are some examples of limitations placed on debt collection practices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  • A debt collector cannot tell family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers about your debt or that they are trying to collect a debt from you.
  • A debt collector cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • A debt collector cannot contact you in places that are inconvenient for you, such as your place of work, if you are not permitted to receive personal calls during work hours.
  • Claiming they are an attorney, government representative, or that they work for a credit bureau.
  • Claiming you have committed a crime or stating you will be arrested if you do not pay.
  • Misrepresent the amount or legal status of the debt.
  • Using threats of violence or harm of person, property, or reputation.
  • Profane language
  • Repeated use of telephone with purpose to annoy.
  • Calling without identifying themselves.
  • A debt collector must stop contacting you if it receives a written request that it stop communication or a written statement of refusal to pay.
  • The debt collector may contact you one final time without demanding payment to state it intends to take specific actions against you.
  • If you are represented by an attorney, the debt collector must communicate only with your attorney.
  • The debt collector must tell you the amount of the debt, the name of the current creditor, and that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.
  • If you don’t believe you owe the debt, think you owe a different amount, or don’t recognize the creditor, you can ask the debt collector for validation within 30 days of receiving the first debt collection letter.
  • Your notice of dispute must be in writing and should be sent certified mail.
  • The debt collector cannot continue collection activities until they have responded to your dispute.
  • You always have the right to tell the debt collector at any time that you dispute the debt.
  • Debt collection agencies cannot charge interest, fees, or charges in addition to the amounts authorized by your original agreement or state law.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) is one of the least used but most effective consumer protection statutes.  A TCPA violation is easy to identify and can often result in significant recovery for the consumer.  A debt collector or creditor may violate the TCPA if:

  • They call a cell phone
  • Using an automated dialing system.
    1. There are two telltale signs that a phone call was placed using an automated dialing system:
      1. When the consumer answers the phone he/she is greeted by a recorded voice.
      2. When the consumer answers the phone he/she experiences a short pause (and occasionally the sound of a click) before a live operator responds.
  • The phone call is placed without the consent of the consumer.  For Example:
    1. Consumer never gave his/her phone number to the party placing the call, and
    2. Consumer revoked any prior consent via a written letter, bankruptcy filing or other means.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Credit reporting agencies have procedures in place to help you dispute inaccurate information.  These agencies must also take steps to verify the accuracy of information that is disputed by you. Similarly creditors, whether credit card debt collectors or mortgage companies, must follow strict guidelines before reporting derogatory information on your credit report.

If you feel that you are a victim of the above described practices, please contact me at (317) 721-9214 for a free consultation.