Debt Collector Harassment Information
Debt collectors have a reputation for harassing debtors. If this is happening to you, you may not know that there are laws that specifically cover what collectors can say to you, when they can call you and what they can say.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law which makes it illegal for debt collectors to engage in certain acts. For example, they can only call you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you or your employer informs the collector that you cannot receive calls at work, the collector is prohibited from calling you there. Debt collectors may not threaten you, discuss your debt with third parties other than your attorney or repeatedly phone you just to harass you. They are not allowed to lie to you or engage in any unfair practices.
Seventy-five percent of consumers said debt collectors ignored their requests to stop calling, according to a survey released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which detailed “troubling” practices in the multi billion-dollar industry. Consumers Still Regularly Harassed by Debt Collectors Consumers told the CFPB that they often felt threatened by debt collectors, that they were contacted late at night or early in the morning and were pursued by collectors using incorrect information; all of these practices are forbidden by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt-collection efforts affect more than 70 million Americans annually and are one of the leading sources of consumer complaints to the CFPB….Read More
Last week, Reuters reported that John Williams of Williams Scott & Associates LLC was convicted in federal court of conspiring to commit wire fraud. Mr. Williams was sentenced to five years in prison. He was also ordered to pay almost $4 million in restitution. Who is John Williams? I didn’t know either. But the point of this blog is to highlight what Mr. Williams reportedly did. No doubt, there are many others out there doing the same or similar things. As consumers, we must all be vigilant and on guard against these types of situations. Scheme That Terrorized Consumers According…Read More
You have several options with a debt that you owe has been placed in collections. This blog post will help you determine whether one of these options will work for your situation and explain the consequences that could occur if you are unable to choose either of these options at this time. Usually, when you owe a creditor, it will first bill you multiple times to attempt to get you to pay them directly. Depending on what type of debt that you owe, you may have some options here to get this debt settled before the creditor turns it over…Read More
Illegal Debt Collection is always the number one complained about problem by consumers, both to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB). In what should end up being good news for consumers in our country, on July 28, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) issued its outline of proposals under consideration for the regulation of debt collection. Don Lawson in our Tennessee office wrote extensively about these changes. Additionally, these proposed changes received national press coverage. In a nutshell, if a communication from a debt collector is untruthful, unfair, undignified or disrespectful,…Read More
For the first time in nearly forty years, the federal government is preparing to strengthen the rules that regulate how consumer debts are collected. On Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its intention to significantly overhaul the rules governing debt collectors. New Rules Governing Debt Collectors Under the newly proposed rules, debt collection companies will have to more fully document the debt they are trying to collect, make it clear how a consumer can dispute the debt, and observe state statutes of limitations that bar them from legally pursuing older debts. These are all safeguards that, according the CFPB,…Read More
Back in March, I wrote about the immediate steps you should take if you are facing overwhelming debt. Today, let’s look at some immediate steps to take if you are receiving harassing debt collection phone calls. When you are struggling with money problems, the last thing you want to deal with is harassing phone calls by debt collectors. You’re already stressed about not being able to pay the debt (assuming that you do actually owe it) and finding yourself on the end of a nasty debt collection phone call just magnifies the stress. But what can you do about these…Read More
Have you ever heard of a “debt buyer?” Chances are you have not. A debt buyer is a particularly insidious type of debt collector. Debt buyers purchase charged off debt from original creditors such as credit card companies, lenders on repossessed automobiles or payday loan lenders. The debt buyer purchases charged off accounts for pennies on the dollar and then pursues the debtor for the entire amount. Debt Buyer Example In tough times you are unable to pay your credit card bill totaling $6,000.00 for more than 3 months. Unbeknownst to you, the credit card company charges the debt off…Read More
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law which protects consumers from unscrupulous collection agencies. Collection Agencies are prohibited from using unfair, deceptive or misleading means to collect a consumer debt. In crafting the FDCPA, Congress drafted the law using the “least sophisticated consumer”. The “least sophisticated consumer” is designed to protect both the shrewd and the gullible. In Tennessee, the time limit for suing someone on a debt is six years from the last voluntary payment; this is called the statute of limitations. In other words, if a creditor sued a consumer on a debt in…Read More
We have written previously (see below) about the topic of collection harassment and the federal law that prohibits illegal activities of debt collectors. You Can Sue Debt Collectors for Harassment The saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” doesn’t quite fit here, but how about listening to debt collector phone calls? These calls are brutal, illegal and, stunningly, so common that we don’t even blink an eye to them. Our clients get these calls every single day and tell our lawyers about them every single day. Reporter Jeff Rossen gives good advice here but he leaves out the fact…Read More
This time of year my firm receives quite a few calls from current and former clients who have received a 1099-C document from a creditor. This is an IRS form that deals with debt that has been cancelled (hence the “C”) due to some event taking place during the specific tax year. Creditors Required to Report When Debt is Forgiven Creditors are required by federal law to report when debt has been cancelled or forgiven and then you as the tax payer must report this as income. Many inexperienced tax preparers believe that this must be counted as income and therefore…Read More