Well, you are having dinner with your family and the phone starts ringing. It never stops until you pick up. Sometime, I think the debt collectors know what time you dine in your home. You pick up the phone with the expectation that someone from your office is calling to tell you your new promotion or you may NOT have turn off the lights while leaving, or your cousin Joe is calling from JFK airport to tell you that he is missing his Siamese cat and he is coming to stay with you for the next week.
Lately, if you’ve been contacted by a collection agency, don’t be afraid, feel ashamed, or become nervous. You are not alone. There are millions of Americans in your company who are behind debts or somehow have mismanaged their finances and now being called everyday at dinner time or early morning, and in between as well. There are thousands calling agencies from different parts of the world, where very determined folks with minimum training and of course with minimum wages expectations, are calling non-stop from dialers through USA, and some with strange and thick accent and phone manners. Remain firm on your grounds as you have rights which needs to be protected under the US laws. This small article would tell your rights if you think you are needlessly harassed. Again, you have the right to pay them or dispute the bill as you may like. No one can stop you, if you really forgot to pay and now likes to pay once reminded.
We are going to discuss some of the lies, manipulation and deceit of some collection agencies which they practice upon all of us all day and long, early in the morning to late in the evening. First of all, these collectors are paid partly in salary and partly in commission. However, bulk of their earnings are in commissions which they can only earn if you pay them. They would expect you to pay them over the phone via your credit card or through your personal checks. Make sure do not give any of the information over the phone.
These collections agencies continuously hire people and give them minimal training and tell them to collect. These folks have been entrusted to collect and they use all kinds of harassing tactics to collect including intimidation, deception and manipulation of facts including the nastiness in their voices. Please do not be afraid of any of these tactics.
Now, we are going to discuss some of their illegal tactics.
What are the illegal tactics?
-A debt collector may not harass you or use intimidating language against you or attack your personal character in any way. They cannot insult you in any way.
-May not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without your specific consent. Check your local times as they can only call as per your local times and not from the local zones of the state of calling.
-A debt collector may not continue calling many times per day, with the sole intent to harass
-May not call your workplace without your employer’s consent. Once you tell them, it is your place of employment, they should stop all calls.
-Can not use false or deceptive statements, such as misrepresenting themselves as attorneys or government officials.
-Can not threaten to send you to jail or insinuate you are a criminal.
-Can not send you misleading documents that can be construed as legitimate legal papers, such as issuing a false summons.
-Can not threaten to garnish your wages or file a lawsuit unless they really intend. Again, they can garnish your wages up to 25% percent. There is a special procedure of garnishment under Nevada laws. Again, under NV laws only 25% of your wages can be garnished. They have to find your employer and send them garnishment papers. If you change your employment, they still need to find your employer and start all over. There is no way they can find your employer from your social security number as the use of this is protected under US laws.
-May never threaten you with violence or threaten you with someone knocking your door.
-Can not be deceptive in misrepresenting the amount of debt they claim you owe
NEVER give a debt collector your bank account information or pay by check with a traceable routing number. Someone this industry may usurp all of your money and enjoy it in Bahamas, and you would be thinking that you had paid off all of your debts..
Your debts need to be current and validated to be collectible. For instance, if they had passed a mandatory statue of limitations, they cannot be collected. They are expired and collectors are legally barred from collecting them. Maybe you should be reminded of something called statute of limitations.
Debt Statute of Limitations
Did you know that debts expire after a certain amount of time passes? Find out what is Nevada statute of limitation. In most cases, it is six years, but still each debt has different statute of limitations. Come to our office (<a href="http://www.mymaliklaw.com) and we would find for you.
Again, please remember that you may not revive your debts. Once you revive them, a fresh period of limitations is started. Also, if you acknowledge your debts, or start making part payments, they may be inadvertently revived. You make sure you do not sign any papers. Make sure you do not revive old debts, or expired debts. Nothing would hurt if you talk to a licensed attorney. Afterall, you are not a lawyer, and stop trusting your family friends, and coworkers, they are not attorneys either.
And don’t be surprised if the debt has magically morphed into an outrageous sum.
Let us go and challenge these collection agencies. They have very thing ground to hold on. Either they disappear or they would decrease their amount. Let us face the bull and take it by the horns.
Lots of these collection agencies buys this collectible list for dime a dozen and collect more than what is owed. This is humongous business for making money. This is akin to payday loan. They are sharks all around you. Your 20 dollar has mushroomed into $1000.00 It is called voodoo economics.
What to do if you’re contacted by a collection agency?
-If a collection agency contacts you over the telephone, politely ask for their name and contact information. Then firmly state you’d like further information about this alleged debt and will be in touch shortly for validation purposes.
-If they are telling you that calls shall be monitored and recorded for quality control. You tell them, and press a button on your phone that you are also recording their calls for your own quality control and monitoring purposes. They would strongly suggest that you should not do that. Don’t be impressed with their arguments. You can make any rules in your own home. You can record calls as long as you tell them. There is nothing illegal about you recording any of the calls. They just have to be declared. Most of the time, these collectors would run away.
-Many times, these collectors calls would come and there is a pause. Why is there a pause? Because they are not manually dialed as a software of calling devise is used, and there is 10 second pause, and then Joe Blow comes with thick and heavy accent. He/she would verify your name, address, phone, and then give you an obligatory warning. Tell him again, you are also recording their phone calls. Never give them their cell phone or your employment phone.
-Your conversation will be recorded and any slip up or naïve language on your part can be used against you later if it should go to court, especially if you unknowingly use language that admits fault to an alleged debt. So stay off the phone to protect yourself. Keep all further correspondence strictly to writing.
-You are under no legal obligation to speak with a debt collector over the phone and, in fact, it’s one of the most foolish things you can do.
-The debt collector is banking on the fact they can use intimidation scare tactics to shaken the situation and cause you to slip up. They hope you’re uncertain and, unfortunately, like the majority of their victims, aren’t properly aware of your legal rights.
Collection agencies will use any tactics necessary, even extremely unethical ones, to get you to admit fault or force any type of payment. Once a collection agency has contacted you, now it’s time to immediately take control of the situation and put the collection agency on the defensive. Force the collection agency to first legally validate the debt by proving you actually owe it.
Should you ask them to send you in writing?
Of course you should. Tell them to send you a correspondence, letter to that effect. Also, you can send them a written notice to cease and desist all such communications. Send a validation letter immediately by certified mail with return receipt requested.
Here’s an example of a validation letter
123 Your Street Address
Your City, ST 01234
123 Graveyard Ave
Las Vegas, NV
Re: Acct # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
Dear Needless Collector:
This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on February 10, 2010. Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested. Prior to this, your collectors has been continuously calling my home number xxx-xx-xxxx. Please also stop calling me on this number.
This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you. I like to know all the details of this alleged debt from your office. Please provide me with a copy of the original contract signed between me and the alleged creditor.
Please provide me with the following:
* How much is the original amount owed?
* What is the outstanding balance at this time?
* How much was the initial interest rate agreed?
* How much was this interest rate increased?
* Explain and show me how your calculation procedure?
* Provide me with copies of any papers originally signed.
* Please Identify the original creditor;
* Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account
* Show me that you are licensed to collect in the state of Nevada. If possible, send me a copy of your license.
* Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent in the state of Nevada.
Please stop reporting to all the 3 major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) as this action might constitute misrepresentation under both Federal Credit Reporting Act, and also under NV state Laws. If any negative reporting is continued or reported already, you need to inform the corresponding agencies and request to erase it. Also, I may remind you that you had not violated either the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in this regard.
I would wait a period of 30 days for your reply and action in this regard.
Please take this letter as cease and desist letter under the appropriate provisions of the above-mentioned laws and stop communicating with me via phones. However, should you need to communicate, please write me letters only.