If you have fallen behind on your bills, you understand that playing catch up can take a lot of the wind out of your sails. From taking on a second job to finding ways to reduce expenses, climbing out of a financial hole is highly stressful.
The stress ramps up to the highest level when a debt collection agency like Harris & Harris Ltd. begins to harass you by making repeated phone calls throughout the day.
How do you fight back against an overly aggressive third party debt collector? The answer is by invoking the rights given to you by a landmark federal consumer protection law.
Passed by the United States Congress, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits bill collectors from harassing and intimidating consumers. A lesser known provision written into the FDCPA requires debt collection agencies to send consumers a debt validation letter.
The Basics of a Debt Validation Letter
You would not pay a merchant more for a product than what the product is worth. The same personal finance principle applies to paying off an outstanding credit card or personal loan balance. Some third party debt collectors bank on consumers not knowing about the information associated with an outstanding debt.
By receiving a debt validation letter, you can compare the amount owed claimed by the bill collector to the amount owed on the last monthly statement sent by the original creditor. You can also make sure the name of the original creditor is correct.
By law, a debt collection agency has five days after the first contact with a consumer to send a debt validation letter.
Example of a Debt Validation Letter Sent by a Consumer
Just because a third party debt collector sent you a debt validation letter does not mean the process is over. You have the right to respond by sending your version of a debt validation letter.
Here is an example of a consumer debt validation letter that demands a bill collector cease all forms of communication:
Name and address of third party debt collector
Dear (Name of bill collector)
This letter is in response to the debt validation letter you send on (date). You claimed in the letter that I owed (amount of money) to (name of the original creditor). Please be advised that I am requesting you stop all forms of communication with me. If you do not comply with my request, I will have no choice but to speak with an FDCPA attorney to send you a formal cease and desist notice.
Thank you for your cooperation with my request.
Do You Qualify for Monetary Damages?
The FDCPA includes a provision that permits consumers to file a claim that seeks monetary damages. Statutory damages cover all violations of the FDCPA committed by the same company. The maximum award issued by a civil court judge for statutory damages is $1,000. Actual damages, which are not capped by the FDCPA, cover the costs associated with lost wages, as well as physical and emotional distress symptoms.
Schedule a free initial consultation with an FDCPA lawyer to ensure Harris & Harris Ltd. sends you a debt validation latter.
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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 Harris & Harris Ltd., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.