Being Harassed by Debt Collectors?
Contact a Seasoned Legal Professional.
Contact the WELLS LAW OFFICE today for a FREE legal consultation to discuss your legal rights.
(937) 435-4000 or email us your inquiry.
Amy and her staff understand the challenges that consumers face when dealing with debt collection issues, particularly in these already tough economic times. Your matter will be treated with the respect and compassion that you deserve.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from abusive debt collection tactics. Attorney Wells is well versed at dealing with debt collectors and helping consumers who are victimized by abusive debt collection practices. Whether you owe any part of the debt or not, the FDCPA, along with other applicable law, governs the means by which debt collectors may seek to collect what is allegedly owed.
If you're being hounded by bill collectors, you're not alone. The debt collection industry is a large and growing business. Debt collectors are well trained to push your psychological buttons.
Whether prosecuting a claim on behalf of her clients, or defending a lawsuit to collect an alleged debt, Attorney Amy Wells is experienced in dealing with debt collectors and putting an end to the unfair and deceptive debt collection practices.
Federal law prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair collection practices, whether you owe the debt or not. You have rights!
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.
Postcards. 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 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. Or, you receive debt collection calls at places that the debt collector knows is inconvenient to you, such as your job when the debt collector knows you are not permitted to take such calls.
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 may also include repeated telephone calls, or causing the phone to ring repeatedly. The debt collector tells you that you have committed a crime or will be arrested.
Threats. 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 of that 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 she 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 5 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. Click here for the content your letter may include.
· 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 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.
Note: this action does not cancel your debt. The original creditor or the collection agency may decide to sue you, or the creditor can simply hire another third-party collector.
· Try to Negotiate the Debt. Once a debt goes to collections, you may be able to work out a deal to pay less than the full amount. Debt collection agencies typically pay pennies on the dollar for the debt, and they are typically authorized to accept a significant discount to settle the debt.
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 ensure the enforceability of a written agreement, contact an experienced attorney.
Preserve your good credit. Make the debt collector agree that they will not report anything negative to the credit bureaus regarding the alleged debt. And have your original creditor sign off on any deal that you make.
Beware: a collection agency could offer to settle a $1,000 credit card bill for just $500. But once they're paid, the original creditor can still come after you for the other $500.
Always pay with paper checks -- not electronic bank drafts by phone or debit cards. This provides you with a record that payment was made, as well as control of exactly what you're paying and when.
· File a Complaint. If you suspect that a collection agent has crossed the line, you may contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Ohio Attorney General’s office and file a complaint.
· File a Lawsuit. If a debt collector violates your rights, you can sue for actual damages and punitive damages under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and other applicable laws, as well as attorneys' fees and court costs. Contact Attorney Amy Wells to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal rights.
~Dedicated to Protecting Ohio Consumers~
Consumer Protection Laws * Fair Debt Collections * Fair Credit Reporting