Archive for the 'Credit Card Debt' Category

04
Mar
13

Intro to Bankruptcy

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Intro to BK Video Zarcone Law Firm

 

22
Dec
12

No Dice for Debt Collector Contacting Debtor’s Employer

In Evon v. Law Offices of Sidney Mickell, the Ninth Circuit found that a debt collector’s letter to a consumer at her workplace addressed “personal and confidential,” “in care of her employer,” and bearing the name and return address of the debt collection law firm was a “per se” violation of § 1692c(b). The letter was actually opened by the employer and reviewed by the employer’s legal department before it was delivered to the consumer.

The court found that the debt collection law firm “should have known of the real possibility that a letter to a debtor’s place of employment, even one marked “Personal and Confidential,” would be viewed by someone other than the debtor.  This finding was attacked in a dissenting opinion that was unfamiliar with any practice of offices opening employees’ mail.  The court replied that debtors are often lower income workers with little say over their employers’ mail handling practices, and the debt collector should have guarded against this possibility.  The court relied primarily on the plain language of § 1692c(b) that prohibits debt collectors from communicating with any person except those listed in that section, and that list does not include employers.  The court noted that the legislative history of § 1692c(b) shows that Congress’ omission of employers from the list of permissible debt collector contacts was intentional.

The court did reject another consumer claim that a threat of judgment, garnishment, and attachment of bank accounts and other assets deceptively implied that judgment was inevitable or that all of the consumer’s wages and assets could have been taken.  The court found that the use of conditional language, “legal action ‘could’ result in judgment” and the omission of the word “all” by the debt collector rendered the statement accurate and not deceptive.

If you believe you have been the victim of an illegal debt collection practice, please contact the Zarcone Law Firm at 619-800-3082 for a FREE consultation.

 

11
Dec
12

Debt Validation Letters

Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, you are allowed to challenge the validity of a debt that a collection agency claims you owe and they are trying to collect.  Below is a sample letter you can send to make the debt collector verify that the debt they claim you owe is actually yours and due and owing.  Be sure to keep a copy for you files and send the letter registered mail.  This is not legal advice and it’s always best to contact an attorney, you can contact us at 619-800-3082 or by going to our website.

Date

ABC Collections
123 First Ave
San Diego, CA

Re: Acct # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on November 30, 2012). Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.

Please provide me with the following:

•    What the money you say I owe is for;
•    Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
•    Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
•    Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
•    Identify the original creditor;
•    Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account
•    Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state
•    Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent

At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the 3 major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if you report negatively to any credit reporting agency I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

•    Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
•    Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
•    Defamation of Character

If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.

Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes any listing any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.

If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

I am also requesting that you do not contact me by telephone at my home or my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls and calls or correspondence sent to or with any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter by USPS.

It would be advisable that you assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action. This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

Best Regards,

Your Signature
Your Name

 

05
May
11

creditor harassment – how to end it

Under the law, threatening violence, using obscene language and calling persistently with the intent to irritate/annoy amounts to harassment. Also, calling home at odd hours or at work place if there has been a notification to not do so or even calling up relatives or friends without your permission can all amount to harassment.

What Can be Done to End to Harassment?

Attempt to engage the creditor before anything else, unless you have a strong feeling that the person may not be pleasant. Explain the reasons for your default, and try to reason with them and ask for payment extensions or payment options, or present any payment plans you believe will be feasible.

As much as one would hope reason and logic can win the battle, the fact is that more often that not, it will not work this way. Debt collectors will almost certainly live up to the stereotype of being unreasonable, difficult people. The next option you, as a debtor, have is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will ensure that all debt collection actions (including phone calls), ethical or otherwise, come to an immediate end. As soon as you file for bankruptcy all creditors and bill collectors must immediately end their collection efforts. Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, both the Bankruptcy Court and the attorney will notify all creditors of your bankruptcy through the mail. In the meanwhile, since this could take a week or so to reach them, you can also notify them in case you get a call, or a creditor comes ringing your doorbell.

Legal Remedies in lieu of Bankruptcy?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides the consumer with legal remedies against creditors who violate its provisions. The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices

Act (FDCPA ) prohibits a collection agency from engaging in many kinds of activities.

(15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 and following.) If a collection agency violates the law, you have the right to sue the agency. If the creditor that hired the agency was involved in the unlawful conduct, you may also be able to sue the creditor. If the behavior is truly outrageous, the creditor may waive the debt and remove the negative marks from your credit report in exchange for your agreement not to sue.

Under the FDCPA , a collection agency cannot legally engage in any of the following activities.

1. Communications with third parties.

2. A collection agent cannot contact you:

• at an unusual or inconvenient time or place—the debt collector must assume that calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. are inconvenient unless the collector knows otherwise, or

• at work, if the collector knows that your employer prohibits you from receiving collections calls at work.  If you are contacted at work, tell the collector that your boss prohibits such calls.

3. Harassment or abuse.  A collection agent cannot engage in conduct meant to harass, oppress, or abuse you. The agent cannot:

• use or threaten to use violence or harm you, another person, or your or another person’s reputation or property

• use obscene, profane, or abusive language

• publish your name as a person who doesn’t pay bills, such as in a “deadbeats” list

• list your debt for sale to the public

• call you repeatedly, or

• place telephone calls to you or any other person without identifying him or herself.

4. False or misleading representations.  A collection agent cannot:

• claim to be a law enforcement officer, suggest that he or she is connected with the government, or send you a document that looks like it’s from a court or government agency

• falsely represent the amount you owe, the character or legal status of the debt, or the amount of compensation the agent will receive

• falsely claim to be an attorney or send you a document that looks like it’s from a lawyer

• communicate false credit information, including failing to tell someone you dispute a debt

• use a false business name

• claim to be employed by a credit bureau, unless the collection agency and the credit bureau are the same company, or

• threaten to take action that he or she does not intend to take or cannot take.

5. Unfair practices. A collection agent cannot engage in any unfair or outrageous method to collect a debt. Specifically, the agent cannot:

• add interest, fees, or charges not authorized in the original agreement or by state law

• solicit a postdated check for the purpose of threatening you with criminal prosecution

• accept a check postdated by more than five days unless the agent notifies you between three and ten days in advance of when it will be deposited

• deposit a postdated check prior to the date on the check, or

• call you collect or otherwise cause you to incur communications charges.

If you are being harassed by bill collectors, call us for a FREE consultation:

619-800-3082

info@financialfreshstart.org




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The content found on the financialfreshstart Blog is not legal advice and is purely for informational purposes. The Zarcone Law Firm does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of submissions. The information provided by the bloggers on this site may not represent the opinions of the Zarcone Law Firm or its affiliates. The information contained herein is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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