Stop bill collection and debt collectors in their tracks! When collection agencies or bill collectors harass you over invalid, inaccurate or outdated debts or debts that are not yours, you have the right to dispute these debts under the FDCPA. And the harassment and misrepresentations may just make you a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics!
Submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer and see whether the debt collector is liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees by:
- Clicking here for a FREE* Fair Debt Case Review;
- Calling toll free 888-FDCPA-LAW (888-332-7252);
- Clicking here to locate a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer.
CAUTION: All information, advice, tips and letters are based on the assumption that you have run into unexpected financial problems and now you need help dealing with collectors who do not listen when you say the debt is not yours, the debt is invalid or you no longer have the means to pay the debt. To stop collections and settle your debts, you may need the help of Attorneys For Consumers in your state, the consultation is free and without obligation.
The FDCPA is your most powerful weapon against unfair and illegal collection practices. Bill collectors, as defined by the FDCPA, must follow the rules when contacting you and when you contact them. Below are three of those rules:
It’s possible to stop bill collection efforts using your State’s Statute of Limitations (SoL) for enforcing debts!
Most debts expire! That’s right, almost all debts eventually expire. Put another way, the legal time limit for enforcing the collection of a debt can expire. It’s called the Statute of Limitations and every state has its own SoL rules. Most unsecured debts expire 4 – 6 six years after going into default. Some debts such as federal student loans and federal and state taxes never expire. Judgments may have a statue of limitations as long as 20 years and, in some states overdue child support never expires!
If you’ve been contacted about an old debt, AND you’re sure it’s yours, then you need to decide whether to pay the debt or not. Although there are many moral, personal and legal issues to consider before making a decision; one thing you should always verify is whether or not the statutes of limitations for enforcing the debt has expired. Doing so allows you to make an informed decision.
Three important FDCPA Rules
All collection agents and certain attorneys must comply with section 12 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which clearly regulates the type of letters and the language that collection agents can use. Section 807 explains what collectors can and cannot do and provides sixteen specific examples of false or misleading tactics. Bill collectors face fines up to $1,000 per violation and, if you or your reputation are damaged, the FDCPA allows for punitive damages as well.
The FDCPA requires bill collectors to make sure they have the right person and that they are collecting the legal amount of money. Collectors have the right to try and locate debtors and this sometimes results in calls to the wrong person because of inaccurate information and record-keeping. Although contacting the wrong person is not a violation of the FDCPA, continuing to call that same person after being informed they have the wrong person is a serious violation. Just as serious is calling and using harassing and abusive tactics especially when the debtor disputes the debt.
When you believe debts are invalid or they are not your debts use these links to view free sample letters that you can use to write your own dispute letter to stop unethical and illegal bill collection harassment.
NOTE: Follow the mailing instructions closely as accurate records are key to proving your case!
The FDCPA requires collectors, upon receipt of your written dispute, to stop all collection efforts and to cease all contact with you until they comply with section 809 – validation of debts.
Although bill collectors who continue to demand payment without validating the debt can be sued for violating the FDCPA you must keep in mind that until they receive your written dispute, they can continue their collection activities and if you fail to respond within the 30 day limitation period, they can ignore your dispute altogether.
In order to prove debt collectors have violated the FDCPA, you’ll need accurate records. Therefore, keep all written correspondence including envelopes and mail receipts. Record all phone calls BUT TELL the caller you are taping the call. With proof in hand, contact your state attorney general and file a formal complaint.
The FDCPA also requires collectors, upon receipt of your written stop calling letter, to cease all contact with you except for specific types of contact. Any contact after receiving your stop calling letter CANNOT include a “demand for payment”.
IMPORTANT: Bill collectors are usually able to validate debts fairly quickly on delinquent accounts less than a few years old. However, as the debt ages it becomes harder to validate because the original creditor may have deleted some accounts or the records have been lost or misplaced due to the business being sold or it went out of business. Another reason is debts are sold on the junk debt circuit so many times, the original creditor information may have been lost along the way.
When collectors cannot validate a debt, they often sell the debt to another junk debt buyer. Because the FDCPA does not require collectors to tell you when they sell your account and the law prohibits collectors from sharing your information with other collectors, you can expect to be contacted by a different collection agency! When this happens, expect to dispute the debt all over again.
Remember “knowledge is power”
Learn as much as you can about the FDCPA and your rights so you are better prepared to deal with collection situations as they come up. Some bill collectors can be particularly nasty, underhanded, and persistent but don’t be intimidated! Protect yourself by learning your rights and by report violations to your state attorney general!
For assistance settling your debts, lowering your interest rate, and possibly saving hundreds a month and thousands off your total debt, call 888-595-9111 NOW for a FREE Debt Help consultation and case review, or complete this easy online debt settlement consultation form!