Harassment shouldn’t be the norm in business transactions and fortunately, it isn’t. However, when you’ve been the victim of repeated aggressive behavior from a third-party collection agency such as California Business Bureau, it’s easy to forget that that behavior isn’t normal.
Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect. California Business Bureau may have forgotten that, but with an attorney and a bit of courage, you can remind them.
Know Your Rights
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is your weapon against third-party collectors’ bad behavior. The FDCPA is a federal law that is meant to keep third-party collectors from harassing you over your debt– even if the debt is genuine. Under the FDCPA, third-party collectors may not:
- Ask you to pay more than you owe
- Attempt to collect an old debt
- Call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. in your time zone
- Impersonate an IRS agent or police officer
Keep in mind that this isn’t the full list of behaviors; there are plenty more listed in the FDCPA. An FDCPA attorney will have the best sense on whether or not you should file a claim, so explain your situation to an experienced one as soon as you can.
Going to Court with California Business Bureau
Once you file a claim, the company will receive a notice. The notice will explain when and where California Business Bureau should appear in court, and it will also explain why the company is being called to court. Those two parts of the notice are called the summons and the complaint, respectively.
You need to make it a priority to appear to court on-time. It's of the utmost importance to make a good impression when you appear; it can have a larger influence on the outcome than you might initially think. Schedule a cab or have a friend drive, whatever it takes.
Attempt to be there 15 minutes before or earlier; this will help combat the possibility that traffic will delay you. And if you’re panicked, remember that you can’t go to jail just because you can’t pay your bills.
How to Prepare
Your attorney will be an invaluable resource when it comes to preparing for the case. First, your attorney will help you gather evidence. You'll want to point out any phone calls where the caller used profane language or a letter that clearly stated it was from a debt collector.
That's proof of an FDCPA violation, and it's evidence that your attorney can use during your day in court.
Next, your attorney will prepare you for the types of questions the other lawyer will be asking. This preparation is important, in part because it'll make a good impression in court, but also because it will improve your chances at winning.
The better you understand your case, the better you’ll be at answering questions about it. Your attorney is invaluable in this process because he or she understands your case inside and out and also understands how to determine the type of questions the other side will pose.
Contact an Attorney
The harassment from an agency like California Business Bureau has probably altered your sense of what it means to be treated with respect. Don’t allow it to do that. Get the harassment to stop by contacting an FDCPA attorney today.
*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 California Business Bureau or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.