Debtors who are in the midst of complicated debt collection proceedings may find themselves handling calls from multiple third-party consumer debt collection agencies. These people are not only persistent but can also be unprofessional to the point of being harassing.
If one of these companies happens to be Medicredit, it is important you, as the debtor, understand your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), all debtors are protected against unfair consumer debt collection practices of third-party collectors like Medicredit. The FDCPA is part of a larger law, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was enacted in 1977.
The FDCPA provides strict rules and guidelines that debt collectors are required to follow when collecting on a debt. If a violation occurs, the debtor can seek compensation for damages sustained against Medicredit.
About Medicredit Corp
Medicredit Corp. is a collection agency and medical bill-paying platform located in Missouri. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Outsource Group. It operates out of three Missouri locations in Columbia, Earth City and Saint Louis. Medicredit claims that it averages approximately 2.4 million contacts annually and simply contacts debtors about debts rather than purchase these debts from clients, doctors or hospitals.
However, over the past three years, the Better Business Bureau has received around 260 complaints about Medicredit and its debt collection practices.
Determining If a Claim Exists
The FDCPA prevents debt collectors from committing certain actions that are considered unprofessional and unethical. Examples of FDCPA violations include the following:
- If Medicredit has called you at “odd hours,” which normally means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;
- If Medicredit has used threatening or violent language when communicating with the debtor or other people connected to the debtor;
- If Medicredit has threatened to file a law suit when they have no intention of pursuing one;
- If Medicredit has threatened to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right or no intention of pursuing a garnishment;
- If Medicredit has called the debtor’s place of business when he or she has specifically stated that no personal calls are to be made there;
- If Medicredit has communicated with third parties connected to the debtor in an effort to seek information on the debt or disclosing information about the debtor; or
- If you believe Medicredit has threatened to file criminal charges against the debtor while collecting on the debt.
If the debtor has experienced any or all of above behavior, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court against Medicredit.
What Damages Are Available?
Once it is determined that the debtor has a valid FDCPA claim against Medicredit, the next step is determining what types of damages are possible. In all FDCPA claims, the debtor is entitled to receive statutory damages in the amount of $1,000.
The debtor can also seek actual damages. These actual damages include compensation for physical distress or injury, including medical bills for treatment needed for related injuries the debtor has sustained because of the harassment.
In addition, actual damages can include emotional distress caused from the violations. If the debtor has also had to lose time at work because of this harassment, he or she can seek lost wages.
The important thing to know is, for actual damages to be awarded, the debtor must be successful in proving the violations occurred, proving that he or she was injured as a result and in showing a connection to the injury and the behavior exhibited by the debt collector.
In addition, attorney’s fees needed to pursue an FDCPA claim can be reimbursed with the final award given, as well as reimbursement for legal costs and fees.
Contact an Attorney Today
As soon as a debtor believes an FDCPA violation has occurred by Medicredit, he or she needs to contact an attorney for a consultation before pursuing a claim. An FDCPA attorney can advise the client on what steps need to be taken to prove a successful FDCPA case.
If the case is unsuccessful, the debtor risks the chance of having to pay for the legal fees for the debt collector in having to defend the claim. Medicredit will likely come to court with legal representation. It benefits the debtor a great deal to have a professional on his or her side, as well, to even the playing field.
*DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for information purposes only. It should not be used construed as legal advice. If you choose to file a claim against Medicredit or any other third-party collection agency, your claim may not be successful, and you may not be entitled to any compensation for your alleged injuries.