If you find yourself looking at numerous monthly bills you cannot afford to pay or worse, having to deal with a debt collection agency that will not leave you alone, then the time has come to learn more about the legal protections granted by a landmark consumer protection law.
Considered the consumer Bill of rights, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prevents third party debt collectors from running roughshod over consumers. Passed by the United States Congress on September 20, 1977, the FDCPA contains several provisions that outlaw overly aggressive debt collection practices. For example, a bill collector such as Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery is limited to calling you at home between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. Moreover, the phone calls made by the debt collection agency must be few and far between. The company is not allowed to call you repeatedly throughout the day.
What Third Parties Can Debt Collectors Contact?
In addition to barring harassing and intimidating debt collection techniques, the FDCPA also makes it illegal for Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery to implement subtler debt collection tactics. A popular subtle debt collection tactic involves a debt collection agency contacting a third party in an attempt to shame you into taking care of an outstanding credit card or personal loan account. According to the FDCPA, a third party debt collector is prohibited from discussing your debt with a friend, a neighbor, a family member or a professional peer.
However, a representative from Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery is permitted to contact a third party in an attempt to acquire your contact information. Although the company can obtain your contact information from the original holder of your debt, it will want to have your updated contact information for collecting a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance.
Contact information should be limited to your current address and the best number to reach you over the phone. Another exception to the third party no contact provision of the FDCPA is when someone has co-signed a credit card or personal loan application. Since the person is on the financial hook for the outstanding debt, Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery has the right to contact the co-signee.
How to Handle a Violation of the Third Party Provision
The FDCPA spells out several ways for consumers to fight back against the overly aggressive tactics implemented by debt collection agencies. The first step is to speak with a licensed consumer protection lawyer who has successfully litigated FDCPA cases. Your FDCPA attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine whether you have enough evidence to file a claim against Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery. If there is not enough compelling evidence to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can opt to negotiate a settlement for the debt. He or she can also send the third party debt collector a formal cease and desist notice.
What to Look for in an FDCPA Lawyer
After narrowing your search to consumer protection attorneys licensed to practice in your state, you should read the reviews left by former clients to find the best attorney for your unique case. Then, schedule a free initial consultation with the FDCPA lawyer to learn more about the federal consumer protection law.
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*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.