After an afternoon meeting with colleagues that work in the same department, you stop by the front desk to pick up the daily mail. Attached to a letter is a post it note that states a debt collection agency called to speak with you about a consumer debt you thought disappeared from your personal finances years ago.
Stunned and embarrassed, you retreat to your desk wondering how you will explain this to the colleague that took the phone call from the third party debt collector.
Instead of worrying about what your professional peers think about your financial problem, you should refer to a decades old federal consumer protection law to seek relief. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a bill collector such as CBE Group, Inc. cannot contact you at your place of employment.
The FDCPA also contains language that prohibits debt collection agencies from issuing threats of any kind, from threatening to file a lawsuit to issuing physical threats. In addition, the FDCPA mandates companies to send consumers a debt validation letter.
What the FDCPA Says a Debt Validation Letter Should Include
You should view a debt validation letter the same way you view a monthly checking account statement. With a checking account statement, you look at every expense to verify that you did use your debit card, or you wrote a check that reduced the amount of money in the account.
A debt validation letter presents information that you confirm, including the total amount of the debt in question, as well as the name and contract information for the original creditor. Some third party debt collectors artificially increase the amount allegedly owed on a credit card or a personal loan account.
The name and contact information for the original creditor is an equally important piece of information the FDCPA requires to be within a debt validation letter. Knowing the name and contact information for the original creditor allows you to go through your personal finance records to determine whether you ever took out a loan or agreed to use a credit card issued by the company named in the debt validation letter.
The FDCPA stipulates that bill collectors have five days after the first contact with a consumer to send a debt validation letter. If you do not receive a debt validation letter within 10 days after first hearing from a debt collection agency, you should take the initiative and remind the company about its legal obligation to send the letter.
Filing a Lawsuit for Monetary Damages
If a bill collector like CBE Group, Inc. violated the FDCPA by not validating your debt, the federal consumer protection law contains a provision that grants you the right to file a claim seeking monetary damages. You can file a claim that seeks statutory damages, which covers every violation of the FDCPA committed by the same debt collection agency.
The FDCPA limits the amount of statutory damages awarded to no more than $1,000 for entire lawsuit.
Make sure you benefit from the legal protections given by the FDCPA. Schedule a free initial consultation today with a state licensed consumer protection attorney who handles FDCPA cases.
*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 CBE Group, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.