Debt Collectors Driving You Crazy?

until debt tear us apartI protect clients from abusive debt collectors. Debt collectors are forbidden by federal law from many types of actions in regard to household debts (not business debts). If a third party debt collector (agency or attorney) violates the act they are liable for damages of at least $1,000.00 plus your attorney’s fees! The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act prohibits:

  • Contacting consumers by telephone outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time. Additionally, if certain hours are inconvenient for consumers during the allowable time (those who work at night and sleep during the day) they may not be contacted during those times;
  • Communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after receiving written notice that said consumer wishes no further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt, with certain exceptions, including advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies where permitted;
  • Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at thecalled number;
  • Communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer;
  • Contacting a consumer known to be represented by an attorney;
  • Communicating with the consumer or pursuing collection efforts by the debt collector after receipt of a consumers written request for verification of a debt made within the 30-day validation period (or for the name and address of the original creditor on a debt) and before the debt collector mails the consumer the requested verification or original creditors name and address;
  • Misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collectors misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer;
  • Publishing the consumers name or address on a “bad debt” list;
  • Demanding any amounts not permitted under an applicable contract provision or as provided under applicable law;
  • Threatening arrest or legal action that is either not permitted or not actually contemplate;
  • Using abusive or profane language in the course of communication related to the debt;
  • Revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumers spouse or attorney) (Collection agencies are allowed to contact neighbors or co-workers but only to obtain location information)
  • Contacting consumers by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of mail or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business;
  • Reporting false information on a consumers credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection.

The Act also requires debt collectors to do the following:

  • Identify themselves and notify the consumer, in every communication, that the communication is from a debt collector, and in the initial communication that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt;
  • Notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt (Section 809), in part or in full, with the debt collector. The 30-day §1692g notice is required to be sent by debt collectors within five days of the initial communication with the consumer. The consumers receipt of this notice starts the clock running on the 30-day right to demand verification of the debt from the debt collector.
  • Provide verification of the debt [32] If a consumer sends a written dispute or request for verification within 30 days of receiving the §1692g notice, then the debt collector must either mail the consumer the requested verification information or cease collection efforts altogether. Such asserted disputes must also be reported by the creditor to any credit bureau that reports the debt. Verification should include at a minimum the amount owed and the name and address of the original creditor.
  • Give the name and address of the original creditor (company to which the debt was originally payable) upon the consumers written request made within 30 days of receipt of the §1692g notice;
  • Suing a consumer in a place other than where the consumer lives or signed the contract; However, that this does not prevent the debt collector from being sued in other venues for violating the Act, such as when the consumer moves outside the venue and a letter demanding payment is forwarded to the new address, even if the debt collector is unaware of such a change in residence.

Once again, debt collectors who violate this act are liable for $1,000.00 plus your attorney fees. Please call for a free consultation with a leading debt collection suit lawyer at (248) 432-1612.

I have been successfully representing people in debt collection cases in the Detroit area for over 30 years. I fully understand the complexities of Michigan’s legal system. The practice of law is an inter-related discipline. True specialization is a myth except for very narrow areas of the law. I practice in multiple areas of the law and understand how one area of practice affects other areas. My fees are reasonable. Contact me for more information on how to obtain the services of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.