FDCPA Violations

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Debt Collectors Contacting You?


Are Debt Collectors Contacting You?

If Debt Collectors are contacting you, National Credit Solutions is here to help. Illegal collection attempts can result in debt collectors paying you for violating your rights, and possibly canceling and deleting the debt from your credit file—all at no cost to you!    Are you getting Voicemail Messages that sound 100% Legal?

 

Actual Case Results from some of our Clients:

Here are some actual results of the work we do while assisting our Clients in fighting back against bad debt collectors, at absolutely no upfront cost to them. The amounts shown are the approximate amounts received by our Clients:

JEREMY – One collector called Jeremy a “deadbeat” and threatened to sue him. Another agency threatened to sue Jeremy and have him served with the lawsuit in front of his co-workers. RESULT: 2 Cases with approximately $7,500 in his pocket.

JOHN – One collector left a voice mail message threatening a lawsuit. Another collection agency threatened to garnish John’s wages without judicial proceedings. Another agency implied that it was a law firm. RESULT: 3 Cases with approximately $10,000 in John’s bank account!

JULIA – Received a call from a Debt Collector who implied that he was a ‘process server’ and that a lawsuit had been filed against her. RESULT: Approximately $3,300 in Julia’s bank account, plus forgiveness and removal of the $11,000 collection account!

TAMMY – Tammy had disputed an account on her credit report that she had paid but still showed a balance. The Credit Reporting Agencies, Original Creditor, and Debt Buyer ignored her disputes. RESULT: 1 Case with approximately $8,500 paid to Tammy!

MIKE – When the collector and the collector’s supervisor both told Mike that his $8,500 apartment collection would show up on his Renter’s Report indefinitely, they had violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Practices Act. RESULT: Forgiveness of the $8,500 apartment collection, removal from Mike’s credit report and $750 in his pocket to pay the $1,100 judgement from the owner of the apartment.

JOHN – After a lot of digging, we found four lawsuits for this client based on illegal collection practices that were being used against him.  One collector called an ex-wife and discussed the debt and two others failed to inform John that the calls were from a debt collector.  While one of these claims remains open, three claims have resulted in a net payment to John in the amount of about $2,500, cancellation of approximately $5,600 in debts and removal of two items from his credit report.

These are just a few of the dozens of National Credit Solutions’ Clients that have received not only settlements but also peace of mind! There are many more examples just like this.

 If you are currently receiving calls from a Debt Collector:
  • Have you been threatened or harassed by a collector?
  • Do Collectors call relatives, co-workers or neighbors?
  • Do they give you the Mini Miranda statement (purpose of the call is for the collection of a debt and any info obtained can be used for that purpose) each and every time they communicate with you by phone, mail or email?
  • Do Collectors call you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM local time?
  • When Collectors call, do you speak with them?
  • Do you currently have voice mail messages from Collectors?

 

If you’ve received collection calls or voice mail messages that are similar to these calls and would like more information, please give me a call at (214) 504-7102 or by email.

Regards,

Ron Reed
FDCPA Compliance Director
National Credit Solutions
(214) 504-7102 DIRECT
R.Reed@NCS700.com

 

*Some of our Clients have been paid and/or had items removed from their credit report by the collection agencies that harassed them.

How Re-aging Debts Affects Consumers


Re-aging Debts

re-aging-debts

One of the largest–and little known–problems facing consumers who are working to raise their credit scores is the illegal re-aging of debt.  Illegal re-aging refers to a creditor (usually a collector) changing the FCRA Compliance Date without the consumer having made a payment.  Illegal re-aging of debt has been around for years; however, in the past three to four years we are seeing a dramatic increase in this activity as collection companies try to squeeze the debtor into paying or settling a collection account.  Re-aging the debt accomplishes two things for the collector:  1) If the debt is re-aged by several months, this will likely result in the debtor’s credit scores dropping, and 2) The Credit Reporting Time Period is extended seven years from the date the account was re-aged.  In other words, the clock begins anew and the debt stays on your credit file for at least another seven years.  The thinking is, the debtor will be more likely to settle the debt if the damage is great enough.

 

Before I get into more detail about illegal re-aging of debts, I feel I must first explain that debts can be re-aged legally.  If an account has been charged off to profit and loss by an original creditor or if the original creditor has transferred or sold the debt to a collection company, making a payment on the account will legally re-age the debt.  This is considered legal because the debtor instigated the process by making a payment.  If you’re considering paying or settling an old collection, be aware that your credit scores are probably going to drop once the collector updates this information with the credit reporting agencies.

 

What, then, is illegal re-aging of an account?  According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), most negative credit information can remain on your credit report for 7-1/2 years (7 years plus 180 days) from the date of first delinquency (DOFD).  The DOFD is the date the consumer first became 30 days late and no further payments were made on the account from that date forward.  The DOFD + 180 days is usually the time frame that the original creditor charges off the account.  The FCRA Compliance Date is officially the beginning of the DOFD and cannot be changed once an account is charged off.

 

What is Re-Aging an Account?  According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), most negative credit information can remain on your credit report for 7.5 years (7 years + 180 days) from the date of the first delinquency (DOFD). The date of the first delinquency (DOFD) is the date a consumer first became 30 days late and no further payments were made on the account from that date forward. At this stage the DOFD usually leads to a creditor charging-off the delinquent account. The FCRA Compliance Date is the official beginning of first date of delinquency (DOFD) which cannot be changed once an account is charged-off (except by consumer initiated payment).  The 7-year clock begins 180 days from the time you FIRST missed a payment. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states:

“The 7-year period shall begin, with respect to any delinquent account that is placed for collection (internally or by referral to a third party, whichever is earlier), charged to profit and loss, or subjected to any similar action, upon the expiration of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the commencement of the delinquency which immediately preceded the collection activity; charge to profit and loss, or similar action.”

 

Creditors can charge off an account 180 days after the first date you missed a payment.  The date you first became delinquent begins the aging process and once the debt has matured 7.5 years, it must be deleted from your credit report.  Some creditors and collection companies report a more recent date to the credit reporting agencies, thus extending the negative reporting of the account.  This is illegal and, as mentioned above, can actually lower your credit scores as recent derogatory information is more detrimental than older negative information.  Re-Aging a delinquent account is a serious violation of the FCRA and, if the account is a collection account, may be a serious violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).

 

Within 90 days of a charged-off debt being placed on your credit reports, the creditor must report the FCRA Compliance Date, and failure to do so within that time period is also a violation of the FCRA.  Once the original creditor reports the FCRA Compliance Date to the credit reporting agencies, it is set in stone (again, with the exception of the debtor making a payment).  This date cannot be changed or updated under any circumstance.  The clock on the date the account FIRST went delinquent cannot change no matter how many times a charged-off debt is purchased, transferred or sold.  The charged-off account can bounce from collection agency to collection agency but according to the FCRA, the debt can only be reported for 7.5 years from the date of first delinquency (DOFD).

 

In closing, there’s never been a better time to have a good credit score than the time we are currently in.  What other time in our history could you purchase a vehicle at 0% interest or a home at an interest rate below 3.5%?  I’m not sure if this is the new norm, but something tells me these crazy interest rates won’t be around forever.

 

If you think you may have debt that has been illegally re-aged, please contact me.  Clients of National Credit Solutions are entitled to a free review by a qualified FDCPA attorney for any violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

 

Thanks,

Brad Boruk
FCRA-Certified Credit Analyst
National Credit Solutions
214 504-7101 DIRECT
b.boruk@ncs700.com

What To Do if Contacted by a Debt Collector

What To Do if Contacted by a Debt Collector


What To Do if Contacted by a Debt Collector

It’s a new world out there, to say the least.  With the current downturn in our economy, consumers who have never had even one derogatory mark on their credit file are now experiencing something new:  accounts in collection.  Along with this, we are seeing a dramatic increase, not only in debt collector activity, but also in some debt collectors exceeding the boundaries of the law.  If you are contacted by a debt collector, you do have rights as a consumer.  Let’s begin by taking a look at what debt collectors cannot do according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

 

Under provisions of The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act,  it is illegal for Debt Collectors to:

  • Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without your permission.
  • Use the phone to harass you, such as making repeated calls.
  • Call at work after being told your employer doesn’t allow personal calls.
  • Tell your employer or anyone else that you owe money.
  • Call again after you’ve sent a letter asking the collector not to do so. The only exception is to tell you the collection agency is taking legal action against you.
  • Use obscene language or threaten to harm you.
  • Send you documents that appear to be legal papers when they’re not, or state that forms sent to you are not legal documents when they are.
  • Imply that he is a lawyer, private detective, or credit bureau representative.
  • Imply that you have committed a crime or will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
  • Threaten to sue if the collection agency does not actually plan to do so.

 

Required conduct

The FDCPA requires debt collectors to do the following (among other requirements):

  • Identify themselves and notify the consumer: In every communication, that the communication is from a debt collector, and in the initial communication that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt.
  • Give the name and address of the original creditor (company to which the debt was originally payable):  Upon the consumer’s written request made within 30 days of receipt of the §1692g notice;
  • Notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt (Section 805):  In part or in full, with the debt collector. The 30-day “§1692g” notice is required to be sent by debt collectors within five days of the initial communication with the consumer, though in 2006 the definition of “initial communication” was amended to exclude “a formal pleading in a civil action” for purposes of triggering the §1692g notice, complicating the matter where the debt collector is an attorney or law firm. The consumer’s receipt of this notice starts the clock running on the 30-day right to demand verification of the debt from the debt collector.
  • Provide verification of the debt: If a consumer sends a written dispute or request for verification within 30 days of receiving the §1692g notice, then the debt collector must either mail the consumer the requested verification information or cease collection efforts altogether. Such asserted disputes must also be reported by the creditor to any credit bureau that reports the debt. Consumers may still dispute a debt verbally or after the thirty-day period has elapsed, but doing so waives the right to compel the debt collector to produce verification of the debt. Verification should include at a minimum the amount owed and the name and address of the original creditor.
  • File a lawsuit in a proper venue:  If a debt collector chooses to file a lawsuit, it may only be in a place where the consumer lives or signed the contract.  Note, however, that this does not prevent the debt collector from being sued in other venues for violating the FDCPA, such as when the consumer moves outside the venue and a letter demanding payment is forwarded to the new address, even if the debt collector is unaware of such a change in residence.

 

Along with your rights, there are also some things you should be aware of if and when you communicate with a debt collector:

NEVER:

  • Give a debt collector your bank account information or credit card information.  The collector may take more than you have authorized.
  • Do “checks by phone” as debt collectors could empty your bank account and you would have very little recourse.
  • Send money to a debt collector by Western Union or other wire services.
  • Do anything based on a phone call.  A legitimate collector should be willing to put agreements in writing BEFORE any payment is made by the consumer.

ALWAYS RECORD:

  • Every conversation (where legal to do so) with collectors so they can be held accountable if they break the law.

Keep in mind that states may have additional laws that protect its citizens.  If you are being sued, we advise that you contact an attorney who specializes in this particular field.  If you are a client of National Credit Solutions, you may be entitled to a free investigation of the collection to see if there are any violations under the FDCPA.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally or post your question here.

Regards,

Thanks,

Brad Boruk
The Credit Guy
214 504-7101