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Any protection from bill collectors on business debt


danbar59
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We live in KY....

My husband is in construction and due to the economic downturn has had several 'bad' years.We have a overdue (4 months) bill of a little over $11,000.00 that we owe a supplier. We are still buying from him but are paying him cash and are no longer charging. We have offered the bill collector a minimum of $1000.00 a month with hopes of being able to pay more at times. He has refused this ,slandered my husband denouncing his character....faxing letters after 9 pm and threatened to contact our banker and other names who were on our original credit application from quite a few years ago. We told him we didn't think that was legal. He just faxed us a copy of a letter he is sending our bank, telling them he either holds a check from us or is re-verifying our credit (neither is true as we no longer charge) and is asking all kinds of questions about us and our financial status. He said in the letter that we are aware he is contacting the bank, making it sound like we're OK with it. The letter head makes it plain that he is from a collection agency.We immediately faxed him back telling him he does not have our permission to do this as we are no longer charging at this company. Does he have this right? We really need some advice. We discovered that FDCPA does not apply to businesses.What can we do, we have full intention of paying this ...it may just take awhile but in the meantime do we have any protection from this bill collector...does he have the right to go to anyone ...to say anything ,lie whatever. I googled the name of his company and they have a reputation of skirting the law. Thanks for any info

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Inform your supplier of the debt collector's tactics and inform then that you have been attempting to pay but have been refused. Ask if they will pull the account back.

Having said that, if you want to pay $1K per month, pay it to your supplier. Meanwhile, it would be to your benefit to speak with an attorney in your area regarding this collector. It appears the intent of the collector is not only to collect money, but to interfere with your ability to conduct business. That's a no-no.

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Our business is a sole proprieter LLC.....does that make a difference on whether we're covered by FDCPA ?

Your business can not be both a sole proprietorship and a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation).

Find out which it is. If it is a LLC you file a 1065 or a 1120 tax form at the end of the year to the IRS. If you include your business income on your 1040 then you are a sole proprietorship.

As a LLC, Limited Liability Corporation consumer protection laws do NOT apply to your business (FDCPA, FCRA ...)

As a sole proprietorship you are fully protected by consumer protection laws. You have access to all the consumer rights in the FDCPA and FCRA.

My guess is that you are a LLC.

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I'm sorry, I don't think that's correct. I beleive the FDCPA just uses the term "business use" without defining whether the business is formally registered or not.

You could be correct.

My understanding is there is no separation between the business and the individual as a sole proprietorship. Because the debt is personally guaranteed by the individual and not the business it is under consumer protection laws.

I was sued by a collection agency in 2006 for debt that the business had run up. I was a sole proprietorship. I got a consumer protection attorney that used the FDCPA and FCRA to stop the action almost immediately.

From what he said that some partnerships, "S" corps and LLP's can fall under the jurisdiction of consumer protection. He told me he uses the CRB that the debt is reported to. Dun & Bradstreet is for business debt. Experian, Equafax or Trans Union report individual debt.

I'm not an attorney and I don't know this definitively, but it seemed to work for me.

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I was sued by a collection agency in 2006 for debt that the business had run up. I was a sole proprietorship. I got a consumer protection attorney that used the FDCPA and FCRA to stop the action almost immediately.

It is possible he may have informed opposing counsel that he was set to prove the alleged debt resulted from purchases made for personal, family or household use.

There is plenty of caselaw that supports the position that, even though debt was incurred through the use of a business account, if the purchases were "consumer" purchases, the FDCPA applies.

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