The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, addresses many forms of debt collector behavior, including how payments are applied when the collector holds multiple accounts of yours. Section “h” permits you to dictate the account(s to which the payment is to be applied, as well as prevents the collector from applying payment to a disputed account. Medical bills are one common example of a situation where a single collector holds multiple accounts.
If a debt collector violates your rights under any of these sections, or any other FDCPA section, you can receive a monetary award even where you suffer no harm. The debt collector also has to pay your attorney fees, meaning you can usually enforce your FDCPA rights at no cost to you.
And even if the FDCPA doesn’t apply or wasn’t violated for one reason for another, the collector or someone else in the account chain may have violated other rights of yours, for example, they could be using a dialer to ring your phone in violation of the TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT or improperly credit reporting in violation of the TRUTH IN LENDING ACT. Things like collection letters, collection voice mails, collection call logs, and detailed notes of conversations with collectors, as well as credit report entries showing collector pulls and reporting, can each form powerful evidence in the fight against debt collection and help you to level the playing field.
So anytime you hear from a debt collector or see one on your credit report have the collection account reviewed by an experienced Fair Debt attorney, your money is too important to just guess as to whether your rights have been violated.
15 USC § 1692h
If any consumer owes multiple debts and makes any single payment to any debt collector with respect to such debts, such debt collector may not apply such payment to any debt which is disputed by the consumer and, where applicable, shall apply such payment in accordance with the consumer’s directions.
(Pub. L. 90–321, title VIII, § 810, as added Pub. L. 95–109, Sept. 20, 1977, 91 Stat. 880.)