Receiving calls from debt collection agencies is hardly a pleasant experience. Oftentimes, these collectors use predatory tactics to attempt to bully you into paying a debt, regardless of whether or not you really owe the debt, or if the debt is even yours. Regardless of the situation, as a consumer you have the right to be informed about your rights regarding collection practices. Two federal laws are on the books protecting you from third-party debt collectors, who have a big incentive to collect on any and all debts they can, often purchasing debt for as little as 3 to 10 cents on the dollar.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) are two consumer protection laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and fully supported by consumer protection attorneys. These laws place several restrictions on hundreds of behaviors that are not permitted. If you are ever called by one of these agencies, you should take the following measures to protect yourself and determine if you need an attorney on your side when your rights have been violated.
KEEP A RECORD OF COLLECTION CALLS
When speaking with debt collectors, it can be easy to get defensive and escalate the problem. Remember to approach each call calmly and logically. There is always a chance that you do not owe the debt they are calling about. Be sure to keep a call log where you write down the date and exact time each call was received, as well as the name of the employee who called you and what was discussed during the call. If something struck you as sounding inappropriate, write it down.
By keeping track of what the collector communicates you will be able to track any inconsistencies between the different representatives who call you. If several companies are calling, you can also keep track of what each company demands. A call log will let you see how frequently each collector calls. Per the FDCPA, collectors cannot call more than once a day or more than 5 times during the week. Per the TCPA, collection agencies cannot use autodialing systems to get in touch, nor can they text your cell phone without express written consent. If these provisions are violated, you may be able to make a significant recovery through Florida FDCPA and TCPA attorneys. Each call or text that violates the TCPA can bring $500 to $1500.
WRITE TO THE COLLECTION AGENCY AND REQUEST THEY STOP
The FDCPA states that if you send a debt collection agency a written request to stop contacting you completely, the company must do so with very few exceptions. Once your request has been received, they won’t be allowed to call you any more about the debt. If they do, record these in your call log and remember that a local consumer law attorney may be able to get you a settlement for violating the TCPA and invading your privacy.
LET THE COLLECTOR KNOW IF YOU BELIEVE THE DEBT IS NOT YOURS
When you first hear about the debt, if it does not sound legitimate, you have the right to let the representative know clearly that it is not your debt or that the debt is no longer owed. Many debts are outside the statute of limitations, meaning that even making one payment can restart the clock and allow the collectors to once again try to gain on that debt that was previously closed off to them. Do not be intimidated by these collectors, who often try to trick consumers into paying debts they don’t really owe.
If the calls don’t stop you have the right to seek the guidance of an experienced consumer law attorney. The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi specializes in TCPA settlements in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida. When you team up with Jibrael, you do not pay a dime until Jibrael wins your case! Contact us online or call (844)-JIBRAEL today for a free consultation.