Before September 20, 1977, the debt collection industry was chalk full of companies that used the legal leverage they had to strong arm consumers into paying off outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts. From direct threats to harassing phone calls, third party debt collectors went after consumers hard and often.
Consumers had to accept what bill collectors told them, which includes that an alleged debt was valid. That all changed with the passage of the landmark Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA a debt collection agency cannot threaten to size your property to liquidate it into cash.
A company is not allowed to call you between 9 pm and 8 am to harass you about a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance. The FDCPA is much more than a set of statutes that ban previously legal debt collection tactics. Under the FDCPA, a debt collection agency must validate a debt, before the company can collect the debt in question.
Defining Debt Validation
Unfortunately, far too many consumers still believe third party debt collectors can intimidate them into settling personal debts. Before you send a bill collector a down payment on an alleged debt, you have the legal obligation to make sure the debt in question is valid.
According to the FDCPA, a third party debt collector such as Central Research, Inc. must send you a letter that proves the validity of the debt in question. The debt validation letter should provide details like how much is the balance, as well as the name and contact information for the original creditor. Bill collectors have five days after first making contact with a consumer to send a debt validation letter.
What Happens If a Debt Validation Letter Creates More Confusion?
Let’s say Central Research, Inc. did its due diligence by sending you a timely debt validation letter. However, the information presented in the letter leaves you with more questions than answers. For example, you might think you never took out a loan with the bank mentioned in the debt validation letter.
Consumers that have any questions pertaining to a debt validation have the right to request a bill collector send a clarification letter. A clarification letter might force a debt collection agency to back off from implementing overly aggressive debt collection practices. In addition, a clarification letter can provide helpful information that helps you decide whether you will comply with the debt payment request.
You Have the Right to Seek Monetary Damages for FDCPA Violations
The FDCPA grants you the legal power to seek monetary damages from a debt collection agency that violated one or more provisions of the federal consumer protection law. As the most common type of just compensation handed out by a civil court judge during an FDCPA hearing, statutory damages cover every violation of the FDCPA that was committed by the same third party debt collector.
You might not be able to prove a bill collector caused you physical and/or emotional distress, but you might be able to meet the lower legal threshold required for winning statutory damages. Never let a bill collector push you around. Schedule a free initial consultation today with a licensed FDCPA attorney.
*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 Central Research, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.