Debt Collection Abuse

Because we all have ups and down in our lives, The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) established a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to help ensure that debt collectors don’t make those times more difficult. The FDCPA requires that debt collectors treat consumers with complete respect and prevent threatening or harassing collection methods.

The FDCPA also establishes a set of guidelines that debit collectors must comply with. Most importantly, debt collectors must provide consumers with all information needed to pay or dispute the debt. If you have experienced the following or feel that you have been embarrassed by creditors, then you may qualify to file a lawsuit:

You are eligible for help if you have experienced:

  • 01

    • A debt collection agency sent four letters within a 30 day validation period. Each letter became more and more demanding.

  • 02

    • A debt collection agency sent letters with inaccurate debt amounts and/or did not reveal the real creditors name.

  • 03

    • Debt collector called your employer (at work) and told them about the debt and money you owed.

  • 04

    • Debt collector called and threatened to add outrageous interest and costs if consumer did not pay.

  • 05

    • A debt collector embarrassed you by calling your neighbors and friends to convince you to pay.

  • 06

    • A debt collector said he was an attorney and advised of a lawsuit, when no such lawsuit existed.

  • 07

    • Debt collectors are trying to confuse you by sending contradictory notices.

  • 08

    • Debt collectors are trying to contact you even after you have resolved your credit issues.


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Fair Credit Reporting

Your credit report is becoming more and more important in everyday life. It can impact your ability to qualify for credit cards, mortgages, car or student loans. With them becoming more readily available to individuals, they may even effect your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. Now, more than ever, its important that all consumers be aware of what is listed on their credit reports and make sure that the information listed there is correct and, if errors are found, they are addressed prior to applying for credit.

It is highly recommended that once a year everyone visit www.annualcreditreport.com and make sure that there are no outdated negative credit events listed on the credit report. If there is, you have the right to dispute those entries and have them corrected or removed in a timely manner. If the error is not adjusted, then you may have the right to seek reparations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The summary of rights under the FCRA are as follows:

You are eligible for help if you have experienced:

  • 01

    Disclose your credit file to you upon request.

    Consumer reporting agencies must provide you the information in your file if you request it and provide the agency with proper identification.

  • 02

    Delete outdated information.

    In general, negative information that is more than 7 years old (10 years for bankruptcies) must be removed from your file.

  • 03

    Limit access to your information.

    A consumer reporting agency may not provide your credit report to any party that lacks a permissible purpose, such as the evaluation of an application for a loan, credit, service, or employment. Permissible purposes also include several business and legal uses.

  • 04

    Get your consent before providing your information to an employer.

    A consumer reporting agency may not provide your credit information to an employer or potential employer unless you first give that employer written permission to request your credit report.

  • 05

    Investigate disputed information.

    If you tell a consumer reporting agency that your file contains inaccurate information, the agency must promptly investigate the matter with the source that provided the information. If the investigation fails to resolve the dispute, you may add a statement to your credit file explaining the matter.

  • 06

    Correct or delete inaccurate information.

    A consumer reporting agency must correct or, as the case may be, delete from your credit file the information that is found to be inaccurate or can no longer be verified. The consumer reporting agency is not required to remove accurate data from your file unless it is outdated.

  • 07

    Remove your name from marketing lists upon request.

    You can request that the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies not share your information with creditors and insurers by calling:
    1-888-5-OPT OUT.

  • 08

    Disclose your credit score to you upon request.

    You have the right to request a credit score about you. In some mortgage transactions, you will get credit score information without charge by contacting the person making or arranging your loan for further information.

  • 09

    Add identity theft and active duty alerts.

    dentity theft victims may place fraud alerts and active duty military personnel serving away from their regular duty station may place “active duty” alerts to help prevent identity theft.

  • 10

    Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft.

    If you are, or believe that you are, the victim of identity theft, you have specific rights under the FCRA. These rights will help you deal with the effects of identity theft.

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Debt Lawsuit Defense

On occasion creditors may choose to pursue a suit to collect on unpaid debt. Most often this will be either a garnishment of wages, seizure of property and other assets, or a combination of both. As the repercussions to losing a debt lawsuit are serious, your first course of action should be to talk to a debt lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. The most important thing to do is not panic and understand that there are a variety of defenses to creditor lawsuits and also options to negotiate a preferential settlement payment schedule even after the lawsuit has been filed.

After speaking with a qualified debt defense attorney, the next step is to begin collection of all correspondences that have been sent to date. As there are a variety of defenses available to you, its best to be aware of what to look for:

You are eligible for help if you have experienced:

  • 01

    The lawsuit was not brought in a timely manner.

    In the case of time-barred debts, if the creditor waited too long to file the lawsuit, then they have exceeded the statute of limitations and can no longer sue to collect and may be in violation of FDCPA.

  • 02

    Property was damaged when delivering the goods or services.

    If the creditor damaged your property and you refused to make payment, this may be grounds for a counterclaim in excess of what you have been sued for.

  • 03

    No Relationship with the creditor.

    If suit is filed by a debt buyer and not your original creditor, you have the right to challenge their right to sue you as you have no agreement directly with them.

  • 04

    The goods or services were defective.

    Most any goods or services come with an implied warranty and if they didn’t function or perform as intended can be a substantial defense against suit.

  • 05

    The amount of Debt is incorrect.

    If you believe the amount you are being sued for is in excess of what it should be, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that all debt, interest, and costs are correct and in fact you have the right to request receipts.

  • 06

    Improper Service.

    Each state has very specific laws as to how a summons or complaint must be delivered to you and if done improperly can result in a dismissal of the case.

  • 07

    You were an authorized user.

    If you are being sued for credit debt where you were not the primary account holder or cosigner, then you cannot be responsible for the debt.

  • 08

    Bankruptcy.

    If you had declared bankruptcy in the past and the debt that you are being sued for was discharged as a part of the bankruptcy proceeding, you can not be sued for it.


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Wrongful Repossession

When you provide a secured creditor with collateral for a loan or fail to make payments on a vehicle, in certain circumstances a creditor may be allowed to repossess these items, but must adhere to strict guidelines when doing so.

A wrongful repossession occurs if one of the following factors is proven by a debtor:

You are eligible for help if you have experienced:

  • 01

    No Right To Repossess.

    Typically very straightforward and easy to prove. Simply refer to your loan agreement and payment history to see the circumstances, if any, in which the creditor may have the right to repossess your property.

  • 02

    Failure to follow proper procedure.

    Each state has strict laws about how to repossess property such as breaching the peace, destroy property, or failure to notify. If these laws are not followed correctly, then wrongful repossession has occurred.


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HOA Liens & Foreclosures

When buying a house, condo, or townhome you will typically be required to pay monthly fees and assessments to an HOA. You’ll also be required to respect and adhere to the rules set forth by the HOA or risk being fined.

All HOAs have the ability to place a lien on a homeowner’s property to enforce the payment of money owed including late charges, fines, interest, and collection costs and dependent upon the laws of the state can eventually lead to foreclosure. As serious as this is, the homeowner does have defenses against this:

You are eligible for help if you have experienced:

  • 01

    Misapplication of Payments.

    In many HOAs, the bylaws state that payments made by the homeowner must be applied to unpaid fees and not other debts, otherwise the foreclosure may be invalid.

  • 02

    Incorrectly Recording the Lien.

    If the HOA does not record the liens with the local court system correctly, then the homeowner may have the ability to claim that the lien is not valid.


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