Alpharetta GA – Paying credit cards and other unsecured debts are your lowest priority. An unsecured debt is a debt where they can’t take away your car or house. A secured debt has something as collateral, such as your car, house, or anything else of value.
The most commons unsecured debt is a credit card. When you stop paying them, they will call you nonstop. The reason is because they don’t have any other way to collect from you.
They can’t come get your car or take your house. So, they make up for that by blowing up your phone with harassing calls. In addition, they use deceptive tricks to get you to pay them. For example, there are Federal Laws that regulate what they can do or say. They aren’t allowed to threaten to sue you, but then not follow thru and actually file suit. To get around this rule, they will use language that sounds legal, but isn’t.
In one situation, a debt collector in Buffalo, New York named their firm Hoffman, Weinberg & O’Brien to make it sound like they were a law firm. They would then leave messages on people’s answering machines. They would say they were with the office of Hoffman, Weinberg & O’Brien and then say they may resort to future legal action. In addition, they would reference case number 8306042. If you didn’t know any better, you would think the case number was for an actual lawsuit against you. Scary, right?
Most credit card accounts never sue (despite the constant threats.) Even when they do sue and get a judgment, they rarely ever attempt to garnish wages. A lot of judgments expire without getting paid. But, a lot of them get paid off when a person’s income increases, or that person sells a valuable asset such as a house.
Here is how to stop the harassing calls. Simply ask the person who calls for their fax number or mailing address. Then, fax or mail them a letter that requests them to stop calling you.
Here is some sample language I would put into a letter for this purpose:
“Under my rights in the Fair Lending Law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I hereby request you stop any and all phone calls to me or any other person. At this time, I do not wish to speak with you, anyone at your company, or anyone representing you concerning this matter. Do not contact me by phone regarding this matter. I demand that you stop calling my at home, on my cell phone, at work, at my relatives house, or any other location. Please make any future communication with me in writing. I am aware of my rights under section 805(b)2 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Ac and am willing and able to exercise them. I am keeping track of all calls from your company and may consider recording calls.”
Make sure that when you mail the letter, you send it return receipt requested. If you have access to a fax machine, then fax it out. It’s much easier and stops the calls quickly. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a creditor or collection agency that calls you after you request them to stop may be liable for statutory damages up to $1,000 plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees.
Another tactic you can use to shut down any debt collector is to tell them you are recording the call. They back off when they realize they are on tape. You can buy an inexpensive call recorder at Radio Shack or Amazon.com. Just hook it up to your phone and you’re ready to go. In addition, you may want to keep a log of all phone calls from debt collectors. This can be useful if you ever have to go to court.
After reading the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, in my opinion, the following acts are prohibited:
Violation #1: Call you before 8 AM or after 9PM.
Violation #2: Tell your relatives, family, or friends that you owe them money, or state that they are in the debt collection business when they contact any relatives, family, or friends.
Violation #3: Contact you after you send a written request that they cease further communication.
Violation #4: Contact you after you request they cease.
Violation #5: Threaten you with violence. In addition, they are prohibited from using obscene or profane language.
Violation #6: Publicize a list of people who owe them money.
Violation #7: Cause your phone to ring repeatedly or continuously to annoy you.
Violation #8: Call you without telling you who they are and why they are calling.
Violation #9: Mislead or falsely represent the amount owed, that they are an attorney or law firm, that if you don’t pay then you’ll go to jail, state or claim that you committed a crime, or threaten to take an action that is not allowed legally.
Violation #10: Not informing you that any information obtained can be used for the purpose of collecting their debt.
Violation #11: Threaten to repossess any property that they legally don’t have the right to repossess. I remember hearing a lady calling a national talk show and saying that a debt collector had threatened to repossess her cat. What is this world coming to?!! That is definitely a violation! Cats, dogs, and children are not normally given as collateral against loans. This isn’t the middle ages here!
Violation #12: Threaten to sue you and then not follow thru with it. In addition, they are not allowed to threaten to do anything unless they actually intend to follow thru with it.
There are many good lawyers who specialize in helping consumers when a debt collector violates the act. Just Google “Fair Debt Collections Lawyer.” Many of them can help you at no cost out of your pocket. They will take on your case on a contingency basis and get paid from the money they collect from the debt collector.
Thanks for reading this, Roland Lorans.
Roland is a real estate agent at Keller Williams Real Estate.
Phone: (770) 866-2561.
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Roland Lorans specializes in loan modification assistance and short sales in Alpharetta Georgia . Alpharetta Loan Modification Help, Alpharetta Short Sales.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to legal, accounting, or any other professional advice. I am simply giving you my personal opinion from one person to another.