Some Things Debt Collectors DON’T Want You To Know
Since 2013, when the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received over 200,000 complaints regarding unfair and unscrupulous collection practices, there has been an enhancement in and crackdown on consumer protection laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Nevertheless, thousands of Americans are sued every day by creditors and third party debt collectors for debts and charges they do not owe. Hundreds of thousands more receive calls from debt collectors and written notices demanding payment.
Whether or not you believe you owe the debt, you may feel pressure to settle an alleged debt. However, before you do so, here are a few things you should know that debt collectors will never tell you. These tips may save you time and money.
First, debt collectors may threaten legal action or flat-out sue you, even though they don’t have the right to do so. For example, a collection suit must typically be filed within four (4) years from the date of default or last payment date on the account. Creditors, particularly debt buyers who purchase accounts years after default, often file their lawsuits beyond the statute of limitations period. Nevertheless, they still attempt to sue you, and you must raise the statute of limitations defense in court.
Second, even if you do settle the alleged debt through some type of payment plan, your credit history will still be negatively affected. Often times, a debt collector will negotiate a lower amount than actual owed or allegedly owed in order to get money (or an enforceable agreement to pay money) from you now. When this occurs, the debt will be listed as a partial settlement or settlement for less than the full amount. Though the settlement of the account will be better for your credit score than paying nothing, a partial settlement will hurt your credit score.
If you and your attorney do end-up settling your account, your attorney should try to negotiate terms that your credit report will show the account as “paid in full.”
Finally, debt collectors have been known to violate various provisions of the TCPA and FDCPA. You have rights when this happens, regardless of whether you owe the debt or not. Your attorney may be able to file counterclaims for monetary damages against collectors for their violations. Or, he or she may try to use these violations as a bargaining chip when negotiating the amount of debt or attempting to dismiss a collection suit against you. Either way, make sure you document instances of harassing or unethical collection efforts. They can be used to your advantage in a variety of ways.
If you are being contacted by debt collectors demanding money or have already been served with a collections suit, you need the help of a knowledgeable consumer rights attorney. At Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC, our attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing clients in all types of debt and debt collection, and we are here to help you!
Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 709-5788, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org