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FDCPA What do I Really need to document Collector Violations and Abuse?


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If you know that you are in financial trouble and have decided to default on your credit card and other consumer debt the best scenario as far as protecting yourself would be to use the 6 months after delinquency and before charge-off to prepare and learn for what is going to come next.

 

Most people however do not think about that far in advance and most of us, myself included endured 6 months of hell from the Original Creditor calling and then months of collections agencies before the big panic when that first summons is served and we realize that we must somehow defend against a lawsuit.

 

One of my mistakes was not understanding or knowing that Michigan Law can snag the Original Creditor and that those violations can go back 4 years, so if I had kept good records I could have had suits filed against all of the original creditors for violating Michigan Law.

 

I learned that it was important at every step after charge-off to deny the debt and force whoever was calling to prove that they had the right, that they had standing to collect the debt. Before that though if at all possible there are some things to do and to get on hand.

 

 

Link to Tools of the Trade http://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/306598-tools-of-the-trade-in-the-field-of-battle/?hl=%2Btools+%2Btrade

 

  • Get a recording App on your phone and or a digital recorder to record calls (if legal in your state)

     

  • A digital camera to take pictures of the phone display to document date and times of calls

     

  • A call Log to write down dates and times of calls and notes if you talk to them

     

  • Within 5 days after the first contact (if by phone) you should get a collection letter

     

  • Often the first contact is the Collection letter.

     

  • Sometimes the first Contact is a Summons and you are sued (don't panic)

     

  • At every step each collector has the opportunity to violate the FDCPA, learn it, love it and learn to love it, it is your shield and your sword. Document all actions by the collection agency whether they call you or contact others make good notes.

     

  • Prepare and Send a Debt Validation Letter to every single collector who contacts you, give them the chance to send you that initial dunning letter, don't pre-empt their moves.

     

  • Once you send the letter, they will validate or not, the bar is low they don't have to send much but they can't continue to collect until they do.

     

  • If they violate the FDCPA you have the option of suing. You can do it yourself and many do or you can find a Consumer Attorney in your state that will sue on contingency.
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You give good advice and I agree with everything you said about being prepared and keeping good records...but...

 

Let me point out that there is nothing magic about "6 months" and "charge off".  CO is just an accounting term that means "charge against accrued income for accounting purposes".  There is no law that says they have to do this at 6 months.  They may decide to CO earlier or never at all, depending on how much uncollected debt they want to carry on their books.  Some OCs get in-house or ouside CAs involved after 60 days...others may wait years.

 

My point is...they probably will come after you...sometime.  It might be the OC, a CA they hire, a JDB they sell to, or a CA working for a JDB.  Its important that you be aware of who you're dealing with...there are variations.

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If you know that you are in financial trouble and have decided to default on your credit card and other consumer debt the best scenario as far as protecting yourself would be to use the 6 months after delinquency and before charge-off to prepare and learn for what is going to come next.

 

Most people however do not think about that far in advance and most of us, myself included endured 6 months of hell from the Original Creditor calling and then months of collections agencies before the big panic when that first summons is served and we realize that we must somehow defend against a lawsuit.

 

One of my mistakes was not understanding or knowing that Michigan Law can snag the Original Creditor and that those violations can go back 4 years, so if I had kept good records I could have had suits filed against all of the original creditors for violating Michigan Law.

 

I learned that it was important at every step after charge-off to deny the debt and force whoever was calling to prove that they had the right, that they had standing to collect the debt. Before that though if at all possible there are some things to do and to get on hand.

 

 

Link to Tools of the Trade

 

  • Get a recording App on your phone and or a digital recorder to record calls (if legal in your state)

     

  • A digital camera to take pictures of the phone display to document date and times of calls

     

  • A call Log to write down dates and times of calls and notes if you talk to them

     

  • Within 5 days after the first contact (if by phone) you should get a collection letter

     

  • Often the first contact is the Collection letter.

     

  • Sometimes the first Contact is a Summons and you are sued (don't panic)

     

  • At every step each collector has the opportunity to violate the FDCPA, learn it, love it and learn to love it, it is your shield and your sword. Document all actions by the collection agency whether they call you or contact others make good notes.

     

  • Prepare and Send a Debt Validation Letter to every single collector who contacts you, give them the chance to send you that initial dunning letter, don't pre-empt their moves.

     

  • Once you send the letter, they will validate or not, the bar is low they don't have to send much but they can't continue to collect until they do.

     

  • If they violate the FDCPA you have the option of suing. You can do it yourself and many do or you can find a Consumer Attorney in your state that will sue on contingency.

 

they don't need standing to try and collect,,they only need it if it goes to court.

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I agree with Willingtocope - Charge off may not be the correct term, although I believe antiquedave may have simply meant that the time the OC holds onto the account doing internal collections is generally 6 months.

 

Although I have a small CCard $600+/- and the OC sent to a collections company after being 30 days late. I DV'd with an arb election, and was sent to Zwicker & Assoc. They have 2 TCPA Violations, haven't sent a 5 day letter, and still haven't verified after I sent my DV with arb as well. Nice to have over $6,000 in violations already if they decide to file suit.

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I agree with Willingtocope - Charge off may not be the correct term, although I believe antiquedave may have simply meant that the time the OC holds onto the account doing internal collections is generally 6 months.

 

Although I have a small CCard $600+/- and the OC sent to a collections company after being 30 days late. I DV'd with an arb election, and was sent to Zwicker & Assoc. They have 2 TCPA Violations, haven't sent a 5 day letter, and still haven't verified after I sent my DV with arb as well. Nice to have over $6,000 in violations already if they decide to file suit.

Its only a grand per suit not violation,

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Its only a grand per suit not violation,

 

In regards to what? I'm adding the TCPA Violations to FDCPA violations as well to come up with my number. And each call is a violation, trebled to $1500 if they are willful - I have a recorded conversation revoking any consent (not that they had it anyway). They called again, I sent a written revoke/DV with Arb and have yet to receive anything in the mail from them.

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You give good advice and I agree with everything you said about being prepared and keeping good records...but...

 

Let me point out that there is nothing magic about "6 months" and "charge off".  CO is just an accounting term that means "charge against accrued income for accounting purposes".  There is no law that says they have to do this at 6 months.  They may decide to CO earlier or never at all, depending on how much uncollected debt they want to carry on their books.  Some OCs get in-house or ouside CAs involved after 60 days...others may wait years.

 

My point is...they probably will come after you...sometime.  It might be the OC, a CA they hire, a JDB they sell to, or a CA working for a JDB.  Its important that you be aware of who you're dealing with...there are variations.

 

Yes there are variations depending on the creditor,and the laws and regulations they operate under, I was thinking about credit cards when I wrote that, charge off is important in order to keep banks and businesses from including non performing assets in their net worth, but I have had accounts with smaller businesses go into collection at 60 days and upwards, my credit cards all charged off at 180 days

 

The FDIC has some information here http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/5000-1000.html

 

I did have a couple debts that went to outside collection agencies before the 180 days where the debts were charged off, I guess I am saying that generally after you default on a debt you have about 6 months to bone up on the law and figure out what you are going to do next. I did not invest myself into learning what to do until a week after the summons came, My point is don't wait for the summons, wrap your head around what you can do earlier when you are no under the gun with 21 days to file a response to a summons

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