ABUSIVE DEBT COLLECTION
It is difficult to ignore harassment and abuse from debt collectors. It can strain personal relationships, affect your employment, invade your privacy, and sometimes lead you to the brink of bankruptcy. Recognizing these problems, Congress created a set of rules, known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by which most debt collectors must abide. California expanded on these rules with its own set of additional protections, known as the Rosenthal FDCPA. If you are targeted by a debt collector who refuses to play by the rules, you should contact our office immediately.
Debt collectors cannot make false threats
They cannot call you before 8:00 A.M. or after 9:00 P.M.
They cannot call you repeatedly if they are attempting to annoy or harass you
For the most part, they cannot contact third parties (i.e., your friends and family)
They cannot call your work if they have reason to know your employer does not allow such calls
They must properly identify themselves
They cannot use language that is profane, abusive, or harassing
They cannot inflate balances owed and/or add junk fees to the balance
If they are reporting the debt to the credit bureaus, they must report it accurately
They cannot sue you somewhere other than where you created the contract or where you currently live
You have the right to demand that they cease communications
They cannot publish a list of names of people who owe them money
They cannot communicate by postcard or print language on envelopes suggesting they are collecting debts
They cannot tell you that documents are legal documents if they are not, and vice-versa
They cannot send you a document that appears to be from a court or government agency when it is not
Within 30 days of being initially contacted, you have the right to dispute the debt and request they validate it
Threatening you with arrest
Threatening to sue you for a debt that is past the statute of limitations
Threatening to garnish/levy money that they cannot (i.e., Social Security benefits)
Failing to report to a dispute to a credit bureau
Re-aging the account it reports to a credit bureau to make it look newer than it is
Suing you in an inconvenient location
Contacting relatives to “locate” you, even though they already have your location information
Calling you multiple times in a single day
Calling you at work after being advised not to do so
Continuing debt collection efforts before validating the debt or after you have exercised your cease-and-desist rights
GETTING LEGAL HELP
The FDCPA has a short, one-year statute of limitations, so when you are being abused or harassed by a debt collector, it is important you speak to an attorney immediately.
Our office offers free consultations.
We can often fight debt collectors on a contingency basis - meaning we only get paid if you do.
369 Pine Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94104