Collection agencies are committed to collecting debt and they often find interesting ways to track down debtors. Some of these tactics are illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and yet, there are numerous instances of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. So what happens when a debt collector is trying to collect on a debt that you have already paid?
In fact, telling them that you have paid the debt should be sufficient because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court’s denial of a debt collector’s motion for judgment as a matter of law because as it turns out, a complete reading of the rules shows debtors are not required to dispute debt in writing under FDCPA.
What does the language of the FDCPA say?
In reality, as with most other consumer protection laws, the language is fairly specific. In particular, it does state what rights a consumer has to dispute debts (good idea to do this in writing) by talking about disputed debts in section(b) Disputed debts "...If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection ..." and further provides consumers with a right to request in writing specific information from collection agencies including name of the original creditor, etc.
In Section C it further goes on to say "The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer." This means just because you don't dispute the debt does not mean you own the debt.
Understanding collection agencies
It is important for a consumer to understand how collection agencies work. Collection agencies are hired by credit card companies, hospitals and others who hold consumer debts. Their goal is to make a best effort to collect the money owed to the original creditor. Typically, the only way a debt collection agency makes money is if they are able to collect money from you. Tactics vary widely by company but in nearly all cases, you are likely to get regular telephone calls at home and work, letters in the mail and other communication. If you feel you are being harassed by a collection agency, you have the right to file a complaint and if necessary, work with an attorney to sue the agency.
If you are one of the millions of people who is facing challenges paying your bills and you are getting constant and annoying telephone calls from a collection agency then it may be time to make sure that someone is protecting the rights you have under the FDCPA. At the Law Offices of James C. Shields we are committed to helping consumers. Just because you owe someone money does not give them all the rights, you have rights as well and we are here to protect those rights.