Hundreds of thousands of consumers are contacted by debt collectors regarding delinquent debts every single day. Receiving these calls and notices can cause a great deal of stress. In fact, one could list dealing with debt collection activities right along with public speaking as one of the worst experiences. While it is possible to avoid speaking in front of people, avoiding a debt collector isn’t a good idea. However, there are certain ways to go about dealing with collection agencies.
Use Consumer Laws to Fight Back
The first step is to take advantage of laws written to protect consumers from bill collectors. The laws were written because debt collectors in general are considered collection-bullies and are notorious for using tactics that constitutes harassment.
The consumer laws written are designed to prevent strong-arming collection activities. One would think the debt collectors would be careful not to break these laws. To prove they are in compliance, the debt collection industry proudly indicates only a few; perhaps less than 1% of all collection calls, generate a complaint to the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). This is proof (in the mind of the collection industry) that they are fine, law abiding businesses.
So That Means I Have No Chance to Fight the Harassment?
Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason few people contact the CFPB or other consumer protection agencies is because the vast majority of consumers are not aware that the call or letter they have received from a bill collector has probably violated a state or federal guideline.
Additionally, even if more consumers were aware of the laws and statutes, they often don’t know how, or to whom, to complain about the violation. Others are in the know, however have lost faith in the system and doubt their complaint will do any good. Debt collectors are aware of this. So the reason they blatantly violate these laws is they are not, in all likelihood, going to be called on it.
You Can Beat Illegal Debt Collection Practices!
Recently, a court awarded one lady an enormous amount of money when she sued a collection agency that had violated her rights as determined by state and federal guidelines. The collection industry understands this is going to happen occasionally but it pays huge dividends for them to take this risk.
Debt collection is a billion dollar industry. They make an enormous amount of money. So it is worth it to debt collectors to violate state and federal statutes. Again, they do get caught occasionally, but in comparison to all the times they get away with their illegal practices and become richly rewarded to do so, there is little incentive for them to be in compliance.
So what are the laws that can protect you, and how do you go about using them? We answer these questions in Part 2 and Part 3 of How to Handle Collection Calls and Letters. Watch for these upcoming posts in the next few weeks!
If you believe your rights may have been violated we encourage you to contact us. The consumer-rights attorney that we use gets paid directly from the defendant (collection agency) and will not charge you for this service.
For more info please see this video: