STOP Bill Collectors
Debt collectors will make over 1 billion telephone calls this year. Unfortunately, in our experience, many of the people making those calls do not adhere to the law. For example, the debt collector might imply that your wages will be garnished or your home seized and sold. In Texas, as a general rule, your wages cannot be garnished and no judgment creditor has the right to seize your homestead. Further, many old and outdated accounts are purchased by debt buyers. These debt buyers often attempt to collect those debts from the wrong individual as their account information is not always the most accurate.
An experienced attorney can advise you on how to best deal with debt collectors and inform you as to what they can and cannot do when collecting a debt. Many attorneys and law firms, including DeMarco•Mitchell, PLLC, offer free initial consultations. Take advantage of that opportunity and arm yourself with knowledge.
With that in mind, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA dictates what rights you have as a debtor and what acts a debt collector can engage in when collecting a debt. In fact, by simply informing a debt collector that you are familiar with the FDCPA, you might notice a change in attitude and fewer phone calls.
The next time the telephone rings and there is a debt collector on the other end, be proactive and assert yourself. Request the name and address of the debt collector. Next, follow up by asking who the original lender is, when the debt was incurred and the amount of the original debt. Lastly, you may want to follow up in writing by requesting the debt collector validate the debt. You may also want to demand, in writing that the debt collector cease any further collection activity.
This last tidbit, however, is a double-edged sword. As many of these debts are purchased for so little, some debt collectors will not hesitate to commence litigation against you upon receipt of a cease and desist letter.
Alternatively, the filing of a bankruptcy case will put an immediate end to any and all debt collectors. The Bankruptcy Code provides that all collection activity must cease immediately upon the commencement of a bankruptcy case. At this point, their only option is to contact your lawyer. Bankruptcy will put an end to the late night calls, collection letters and the fear of not knowing what is going to happen when you get sued.