Are you currently dealing with debt or maybe you have in the past? Did you know that the United States Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977 to help protect you? This act was passed to protect all consumers from any harassment or abuse from debt collectors. We will discuss your rights when it comes to written notifications from the debt collectors. Do you have rights? Of course you do!
Where is the Documentation?
The debt collectors are calling once a week requesting you pay a debt. You think you paid this debt. What next? You can request that the debt collectors send you written notice of the debt. This notice needs to include the original creditor and the amount of the debt they are collecting. Initiate the request with verification of debt letter. It is important to send this letter within 30 days of the first time they contact you. And as always, be sure to keep a copy of the letter you are sending for your records.
Am I getting sued?
The debt collector or creditor claim you never paid the debt, while you claim you have never received any notifications. It is important for them to attach the proper documentation when filing a lawsuit. A couple items that are required by law are:
- Attach to the complaint a copy of the account or written contract or agreement
- State in the complaint why the account or document is not attached
If neither of these attachments is sent when filing the lawsuit you can have it dismissed! Therefore, never having to step foot in a courtroom!
Unverified Debt what it means to you
So weeks have passed, the collectors still seem to be calling and you have sent your verification letter by certified mail and you have received nothing from them, what next? You now have the right to sue the debt collector in federal or state court. My how the tables can turn!
You may get $1,000 or more per lawsuit, damages, attorney fees and court costs if you sue and win. Of course your own documentation of when your letter was received, any voicemails they may have left, or other documentation will help you to win your case. However, simply by them not providing by law what they are supposed to can immediately win you something in most cases.
Keeping Records and its Importance
If you are like most people, you keep tax statements for 10 years or credit card and bank statements for 5 years. Record keeping is important, especially when it comes to any debt you have/had. Copies of the verification letter you sent, the signature they received it, any voicemails they have left or letters you receive all should be in a file. You just never know when that debt collector wants to sue you whether you still legitimately owe the debt or not. The paper trail may be long or short, but the paper trail will be your best weapon in winning a case. If you are still unsure of your rights, you should contact an FDCPA attorney to discuss your options.