Getting the Upper Hand when Dealing With Debt Collectors

Debtors have rights. You might not know it from the behavior of some debt collectors, but debtors have rights that are actual laws. That’s not to say that some these companies do not blatantly break the law, making outrageous threats, and possibly even collecting on debts that people do not even owe. In one case, a collection company owner manipulated his company software to falsely inflate debtors balances and made “material misrepresentations*” to debtors not only over the phone but in mailing campaigns that mimicked mailings from courts of law and government agencies.

Your best defense in dealing with debt collectors is to know your rights, document your communications with them, and know the law.

  • When a debt collector calls, tell them that you prefer to communicate in writing. This gives you an advantage in that you can keep a definitive record of your communications with them.
  • You can also send a debt collection company a cease and desist letter. This is a letter sent by certified mail or another verifiable delivery method that tells the debt collector to cease contacting you. It is a legally binding document, and while it prohibits the collection agency from contacting you, it does not prohibit the company with whom the debt originated from contacting you.
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that governs how collection agencies may interact with you in attempting to collect a debt. They can’t call you before 8 AM or after 9 PM in your time zone if you are represented by an attorney, or at your job if you are prohibited from receiving personal calls at work.
  • Debt collectors may not communicate with third parties to collect a debt. They must contact the debtor directly, their attorney, or a consumer reporting agency.
  • Debt collectors are not allowed to lie or mislead to the debtor about the debt or the nature of their business.
  • Debt collectors must validate the debt at the borrower’s request, including the amount of the debt the name of the creditor, and the period in which the debt must be disputed before it is considered valid.
  • Advise debt collectors that if they are in violation of any portion of this law, they are liable for damages in a court of law, not to mention administrative enforcement by federal agencies.

If you are dealing with debt collectors that are abusive, have a zombie debt, or a collector is trying to collect a debt outside the statute of limitations, you have legal recourse against them. If you have been overcharged by debt collector, pressed to pay a debt that you do not owe, or if you have received a summons, good legal advice is your best friend. We offer free consultations in our Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices seven days a week, where there to give you the best legal advice that we can, and get your phone to stop ringing. Give us a call and stop debt collectors cold.

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Published by
Chad Van Horn

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