Dealing With Debt Collection Calls
Collection calls can add to the stress of managing unpaid debt. Sometimes these collection attempts can be harassing or threatening. If you are receiving non-stop calls, you may be wondering how to get it to stop.
Creditors use various strategies to collect on debts. They may use the services of in-house debt collectors, lawyers or an outside collection agency. Sometimes collection calls are coming from debt collectors that bought your debt from the original creditor.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), creditors must abide by certain rules when attempting to collect on a debt. You also have rights as a debtor under the law and can take steps to stop debt collection calls. Understanding your legal rights and options can help you to defend yourself from harassing debt collection tactics.
If you are facing a financial crisis and don’t know where to turn, Cherney Law Firm LLC is here to help.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA is a federal law that regulates the collection of personal debts in the United States. It protects citizens from abusive and unfair debt collection practices. The Act is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
Some ways debt collector communications can violate the FDCPA include:
- Calling at odd times or places. Generally, debt collectors should only call you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. They also cannot contact you at a time that they know is inconvenient for you, like if they know that you are not allowed to receive personal calls at work.
- Harassment. Excessive calls intended to annoy, threaten or oppress you are considered debt collector harassment. This includes use of obscene language.
- Contacting you instead of your attorney. If you have given your lawyer’s contact information to the debt collector, they must direct all further communications regarding the debt to your lawyer.
- Providing misleading information. It is illegal for a debt collector to deliberately misrepresent facts about your debt.
Other Relevant Laws and Regulations
Apart from the FDCPA, some Georgia state laws protect consumer and borrower’s rights.
The Georgia Installment Loan Act (GILA) requires most lenders to have a license to give out loans totaling less than $3,000. GILA limits the fees and interest lenders can charge on installment loans. Lenders are also forbidden from using unreasonable collection tactics.
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Debt Collection
Each state has a statute of limitations limiting the time in which a debt collector can file a collection lawsuit. The statute of limitations in Georgia is four or six years depending on the type of debt in question.
Written contract and credit card debts have a six years statute of limitations. For contracts that are not in writing, the statute of limitations is four years. After the statute has run, your creditor can no longer obtain a judgment collection on the debt.
Effective Strategies To Stop Collection Calls
There are a number of strategies to stop creditor harassment. However, it is important to remember that stopping collection calls does not mean that the creditor cannot collect on the debt. Debt collectors may take alternative action to collect debts, like file a lawsuit.
Cease and Desist Letter
You can stop debt collectors from calling by making a request in writing. This written notice is known as a cease and desist letter. Once the debt collector receives this notice they can only contact you once more to confirm receipt of the letter and inform you of the next step they intend to take to collect on the debt.
The cease and desist letter should contain:
- Your name and contact information.
- The name and contact information of the debt collection agency.
- Details about the activity you wish them to stop.
- A warning that legal action will follow if the activity does not stop.
- A deadline to comply with the requested action.
You should also send the letter certified mail with return receipt requested to ensure the letter was received.
A cease and desist letter is a good option to stop calls related to time-barred debt. Your attorney can help you craft a strong cease and desist with all necessary information.
Verifying the Debt
Verifying whether the debt is yours is crucial when dealing with debt collectors. This can help you avoid paying off a debt you do not owe. You can request a debt validation within 30 days of the initial communication from a debt collector. The validation should include information like who, when and how the debt was incurred.
After receiving this information, you can confirm if the debt is yours by reviewing your financial records. If the debt is not yours, you can dispute the debt collection.
Negotiating With Debt Collectors
You can negotiate with the debt collector to devise a repayment plan or to reduce your debt to a more manageable amount. Assistance from an experienced attorney can be vital if you choose to negotiate.
While negotiations may help you resolve the issue, it can sometimes cause more problems. By acknowledging the debt and making payments, the statute of limitation may restart on a debt that is almost or already time-barred.
Bankruptcy: A Potential Solution
Two common debt relief options for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy that focuses on liquidating non-exempt assets to repay debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is for individuals with disposable income and focuses on repayment of debts while protecting assets.
Many unsecured debts can be discharged by bankruptcy. Common types of unsecured debts are credit card debt, medical bills and utility bills. While not all debts will be discharged, enough can be eliminated to give you a fresh financial start.
Once you have filed bankruptcy, debt collectors cannot attempt to recover a debt until the case is concluded. If a collection agency attempts to make any post-bankruptcy credit collections, you should inform them that you have filed for bankruptcy. You should also let your attorney know about any debt collector calls you receive.
If you are considering bankruptcy or need help understanding bankruptcy, Cherney Law can provide you with the guidance and support you need.
Is Collections Calling? Contact Cherney Law Firm Today
Knowing your rights regarding debt collection is important for your peace of mind and finances. A skilled lawyer can help you determine the best approach to managing debt collector calls and options for debt relief.
At Cherney Law Firm LLC, we understand the delicacy of debt management. There is no one-size-fits all solution. We handle our clients’ cases with the utmost care and attention to detail, providing tailored solutions to each client’s unique situation.
If you are experiencing constant debt collection calls, contact us today for a free consultation. Weekend and evening appointments are available.