Getting a letter in the mail from a debt collector saying you owe money can be alarming.
But before you pay the alleged debt you owe, make sure you know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Errors in debt collection are common, as are debt collection scams. That’s why Consumer Attorneys offers free review of debt collection letters to protect you and your wallet. Keep reading to arm yourself with the information you need to avoid becoming a victim of predatory debt collection.
Know Your Rights: Can I Sue for False Debt Collection?
Understanding your legal rights when dealing with debt collectors is essential, especially if you find yourself asking: can I sue for false debt collection? The answer is yes; you have the right to take legal action against debt collectors who engage in fraudulent or harassing practices. It is crucial to gather evidence and documentation to support your case and fight for the justice you deserve. If you suspect that you have been a victim of false debt collection, contact our experienced legal team today. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
What is debt collection?
Legitimate debt collectors usually work for debt collection agencies. They are third parties that recover old debt that a consumer has failed to pay, such as a loan or credit card debt. Collectors often work on behalf of other companies, and if a company works for the original creditor, the creditor will pay the collector part of what they collect from the consumer.
Debts purchased by these third parties can include:
- Medical debt
- Car loans
- Personal loans
- Credit card debt
- Student loans
- Utilities and phone costs
Debt collectors may also purchase a debt for a lower price and then target a consumer for payments. Although illegal, debt collectors are known for making harassing phone calls and being aggressive with debtors.
Why am I receiving a debt collection letter?
You may receive a debt collection letter because you have not made payments on products like loans or credit cards. But this also might be in error, or you might be getting scammed by an illegitimate collector.
It is common to get a notice about a debt that you know you have already paid or debt that belongs to someone with a similar name, social security number, or other personal information. This is an error and collection agencies are required by law to look into any disputes a consumer files.
What do I do if I receive a debt collection letter?
There are different ways to respond to debt collection letters, and it depends on the circumstances. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), there are a few questions you should answer before acting when you’re contacted by a debt collector.
- Who is the debt collector? Make sure you find the name, address and phone number.
- What is the amount of the debt, including fees like interest and collection costs?
- What is the debt for and when was it incurred?
- What is the name of the original creditor?
- Is there any other information about whether you or someone else owes the debt?
Consumers should note that when debt collectors contact an individual in writing about money they owe, the collector must provide a written notice containing information mandated by the FDCPA. You should not trust any debt collector who contacts you by phone — do not provide any personal or financial information to the collector calling by phone until you confirm the caller is legitimate.
The next step you should take before paying a debt collector is to send a debt verification letter asking the collector to outline the debt, what you owe and other information pertaining to the debt. Validation letters are legally required under the FDCPA.
If you have checked off all the items on the list and still have questions about a debt collection notice you’ve received, Consumer Attorneys will review it at no cost to you. Contact us today.
This debt does not belong to me. Can I dispute it?
You can absolutely dispute debt collection notices that you don’t recognize or that contain other mistakes. The collector is required to say in writing that you have 30 days to dispute the debt, but be aware that if you don’t file within that time frame, the debt will be considered valid by the collector.
Be sure to send your debt verification letters and disputes via certified mail and include any information that proves that the debt collector is in error. They are required to correct any errors within 30 days of receiving the claim.
How does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protect me?
Thanks to the FDCPA, you have legal recourse if you encounter any of the following behaviors from debt collectors.
- Contacting the consumer outside the 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. window stipulated by the FDCPA
- Impersonating law enforcement, an attorney or other authorities as a scare tactic
- Lying about debt owed and where it came from
- Deceptive and abusive practices like threats and harassment
Consumer Attorneys’ seasoned legal representatives can help you deal with debt collectors. We want to receive your debt collection notices for a free view, so send them today at the contact information below.