Do Not Suffer Through Abuse From Debt Collectors
When you are buried in financial struggles, the last thing you need is the added stress of constant phone calls, texts or letters from debt collectors. Thankfully, federal law provides protections for people like you. It imposes limits on when, how and how often creditors can contact you, and what they can say or do to you.
At Wells Law Office, Inc., Attorney Amy Wells is committed to standing up for consumers, including people struggling with debt who are facing illegal or harassing creditor behavior. For more than 17 years, she has focused her practice on consumer rights, handling numerous individual and class action cases. Her results total well in the millions of dollars.
Read on for more information about abusive debt collection practices and the steps Ms. Wells can take to stand up for you.
Some Signs You May Be The Victim Of Unfair Debt Collections
Third Parties Are Being Contacted
The debt collector calls your friends, family, neighbors or co-workers, regarding the alleged debt.
You receive written communication from a debt collector on a post card, rather than in a sealed envelope that does not reveal it is from a debt collector.
Contact After Your Retain An Attorney
A debt collector contacts you, instead of your attorney, after being informed you are represented by a lawyer.
Calls At Unusual Times Or Unusual Places
You receive debt collection calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Or, you receive debt collection calls at places that the debt collector knows are inconvenient to you, such as your job when the debt collector knows you are not permitted to take calls at your workplace.
Continued Contact After Instruction To Stop
The debt collector continues to call you after you have sent written correspondence telling the debt collector to stop contacting you.
Abusive Or Harassing Contact
The debt collector’s communication with you is oppressive or abusive, such as the use of profane or derogatory language. This includes the debt collector telling you that you have committed a crime or will be arrested. This may also include repeated telephone calls or causing the phone to ring repeatedly.
The debt collector threatens you or your property with violence or criminal conduct. The debt collector threatens arrest or imprisonment for nonpayment. The debt collector threatens to take legal action that the debt collector does not intend to take, or cannot legally take. The debt collector threatens to seize or repossess your property.
Refusal To Identify Themselves
The debt collector refuses to identify himself or herself, the name of the debt collection agency or the purpose of the call. The debt collector refuses to tell you the source, amount or legal status of the alleged debt.
False Or Misleading Representation
The debt collector states that he is affiliated with a governmental office. The debt collector uses a badge or uniform suggesting they are affiliated with the police or government. The debt collector says he is an attorney, and any communication is from an attorney, when that is not the case. The documents imply they are authorized by a court, official or governmental agency. The debt collector says he is employed by a credit reporting agency or credit bureau.
Failure To Report The Debt As Disputed To The Credit Bureau
The debt collector fails to report the debt as disputed (if you have disputed the validity of the debt) on your consumer credit report.
Written Communication Does Not Include Validation Notice
The first written correspondence from a debt collector, or within five days thereafter, does not include a Notice of your Validation rights. (“This is an attempt to collect a debt … communication is from a debt collector.”) The language is mandated by federal law and must be clear and conspicuous. If you have questions, contact an experienced attorney to review the notice to preserve your legal rights.
Steps To Take If You Are The Victim Of Unfair Debt Collections
Keep A Detailed Log
Keep track of all communications from any debt collector. Include copies of all envelopes. If you have any telephone calls and/or messages recorded, preserve copies of those contacts as well.
Dispute The Debt
You must send a written dispute within 30 days.
Record Your Calls
You may tell the debt collector you are taping the call. This may compel them to behave professionally. Be certain to consult a legal professional regarding the laws regarding recording conversations in your state.
Don’t Take The Calls
You can hang up, screen calls or stop them from calling entirely by sending a “cease and desist letter” demanding they stop contacting you. If you send a “cease and desist,” include your name, address and account number, and tell the company “do not contact me further about this debt.” Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested so that you have proof the company received it. Please note, the only permissible way for a collector to pursue collection at this point is to file a collection lawsuit against you.
Negotiate The Debt
If you owe the debt, you may decide to negotiate. Whether you pay in full, negotiate for a percentage of the debt, or agree to a payment plan, be certain to get everything in writing before you give the debt collector any money. If you need assistance to negotiate or to ensure the enforceability of a written agreement, contact an experienced consumer protection lawyer.
Evaluate Your Options For Relief From Creditors
You should not have to deal with the headaches of abusive treatment from creditors. Through legal action, you can put a stop to it and potentially recover compensation for the creditors’ legal violations. Learn how Ms. Wells can help. Call Wells Law Office, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, at 773-352-8567, or fill out a quick online contact form.