What You Should Do When Facing Unfair Debt Collection Practices

February 20, 2012

Save all documentation

Many cases against debt collectors are unsuccessful because the consumer failed to retain important documents. It’s important to save and document any communications between yourself and the debt collector or debt collection attorney. This includes letters and voicemail messages sent by the collector. You should also maintain a call log. The log should include the name of the debt collecting agency, the name of the collection agent, the time and date of the call, what the call was regarding and whether or not any violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act or any other consumer protection acts occurred.

Be sure to verify the debt

The request to have the debt collection agency verify your debt should be done in writing, through certified mail, with a return receipt. If you do not wish to be contacted by phone, you may include this in your letter as well. Debt collectors may not contact you after you have requested verification without first providing verification. Here is a template letter to request that creditors verify a debt.

Obtain a copy of your credit report

Obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion and Experian. If the report contains inaccuracies you can write the reporting agency disputing the discrepancy and requesting the report be fixed. Using certified mail and a return receipt, the letter should be copied and sent to the debt collection agency. The use of certified mail and the retention of return receipts will allow you to prove the letter was sent and received. The letter itself may help in protecting your credit while dealing the debt collector and impose obligations on collection agencies that could help your case in the future.

Be sure to attend all court hearings

Lastly, if faced with a lawsuit, be sure to attend all court hearings. It may be best to consult with an attorney that is experienced with the Fair Debt Collection Act and cases involving it. Many judges will reschedule your court appearance to a later date if you are unable to find a suitable lawyer in time. Your lawyer will work with you to bring suit against violation of the FDCA and other consumer protections laws. Your attorney may also be able to work with you to report unfair debt collection practices to the proper regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission or your department of consumer affairs and attorney general’s office.

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