Facing a Debt Collector?You don't have to face them alone
Together we can resolve your debt collection issues.
Third-party debt collection is a huge industry, and collectors often operate on little-to-no documentation.Debts are bought-and-sold in massive portfolios; often consisting of little more than names, Social Security numbers, and balances.
When receiving a collection letter or notice of lawsuit, the first inclination may be to give up. Don’t! Remember – it is the debt collector’s burden to establish that you owe the debt, that the balance and charges are correct, and that it is collectable. It’s quite possible that the debt cannot be verified, is inaccurate, contains additional charges which are not collectible, or in some cases, is not collectible at all since it’s beyond the statute of limitations or discharged in bankruptcy.
It is also not unusual to encounter the debt collector who engages in abusive and misleading tactics to collect a debt. If you’ve encountered this situation, it may be possible to turn the tables and seek damages from the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. Damages can be significant, consisting of statutory penalties, attorney fees, and court costs.
How can an attorney help me?An attorney can step between you and the creditors and put a stop to the constant calls and collection letters. They can insist that the debt be verified according to law and help you develop a plan to tackle it. If you've been the victim of harassment or intimidation in the course of collecting a debt, an attorney can help you recover damages under federal and state law
Hold creditors accountable
It's the creditor's burden to prove 1) ownership of the debt, 2) the amount of the debt, and 3) that you owe it. If you notify the creditor that you dispute even one of these items in writing, the creditor must stop all further collection activity until it provides written verification of the debt. Failure to do so may trigger your right to bring a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for damages.
End the harassment and intimidation
There are debt collectors who employ hardball tactics like calling constantly at all hours or using intimidation to collect a debt. You don't have to stand for it. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Indiana's Uniform Consumer Credit Code, and Deceptive Consumer Sales Act can give you the tools to fight back and end the harassment. In some cases, and depending on the conduct, the hunter can even find itself becoming the hunted!
Ensure that your defenses are asserted
There are many defenses which may partially or completely defeat a debt collector's claim. Examples include the debt being outside of the statute of limitations (time barred), discharged in bankruptcy, or satisfied by prior payments. Each case is different and should be carefully reviewed to determine the defenses available and the proper course of action.
Ensure that credit information is reported correctly
A recent Federal Trade Commission report found 25% of consumer credit reports contain errors - from minor mistakes to major oversights. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides is designed to protect consumers from these mistakes by requiring debt collectors and other reporting agencies to provide complete and accurate info. A creditor's failure to correct information after notice could give rise to a claim for statutory damages, punitive damages, and even attorneys' fees.