When you returned to work from a lunch break, a message awaited you on your desk. A debt collection agency tried to reach you at work to discuss an outstanding personal debt. This is the first time you have heard from the company chasing you down about an outstanding credit card or personal loan balance.
Embarrassed that a co-worker knows about the phone call, you wonder how you can take care of the alleged debt, without having to ensure further shame.
The answer to your dilemma lies within the legal language written into the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Considered the ultimate consumer Bill of Rights, the groundbreaking federal consumer protection law forbids third party debt collectors from contacting consumers at their places of employment. The FDCPA also mandates bill collectors to send consumers a debt validation letter to ensure an alleged debt is actually a valid debt.
What a Debt Validation Letter Must Include
Look at a debt validation letter like you look at a monthly bank statement. It should present information that confirms the existence of a delinquent credit card or personal loan account. One of the most important pieces of information is the total amount owed.
You can check your personal finance records to determine whether the amount claimed by a bill collector is an accurate amount of money. Some debt collection agencies add inflated charges to an alleged debt that include interest fees and late payment penalties.
The name of the original creditor is perhaps the most important piece of information. Knowing the name of the company that extended credit can help you confirm the validity of the debt in question. Contact the original creditor to see if it has any records that pertain to your credit account.
A debt validation letter should also contain a statement explaining that you have 30 days to contest the alleged debt. Responding to a debt validation letter involves asking for additional evidence that demonstrates you are legally obligated to pay off the alleged debt.
File a Claim for Monetary Damages
If a third party debt collector has crossed the legal line by falsely claiming you owe money on a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance, you have the right to file a claim seeking monetary damages for the false claim. The FDCPA punished bill collectors that use deception to trick consumers into sending them money for debts that do not exist.
You can seek statutory damages, which is a one-time financial award to penalize debt collection agencies for every violation of the FDCPA. Capped at $1,000, statutory damages requires you to present evidence that a third party debt collector like Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates, LLC violated one of more provisions of the federal consumer protection law.
How to Prove an FDCPA Violation
When you hire an experienced FDCPA lawyer to represent you in a claim filed against a bill collector, you let a company such as Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates know you are serious about protecting the rights granted to you by the FDCPA.
An accomplished attorney will conduct an extensive review of your case to decide whether filing a lawsuit represents the best legal strategy. Be proactive by scheduling a free initial consultation with a licensed FDCPA lawyer.
*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 Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates, Inc., or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.