Mail call at work one day takes a highly negative turn, after you open a letter sent to you by the IRS. The letter demands payment on an outstanding consumer debt, as well as explains the consequence of ignoring the debt collection request. Panicked that you are in the sights of the most powerful government agency, you rush to the bank to transfer money into an account that will be used to settle the debt in question.
Unfortunately, you acted before verifying the letter was sent by the IRS.
On September 20, 1997, the United States Congress responded to years of consumer anger by passing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA outlaws dozens of previously legal debt collection tactics, such as issuing threats and making false statements regarding consumer debts.
Examples of False Statements Issued by Debt Collection Agencies
In the IRS example, the actual sender of the letter was a third party debt collector. According to the FDCPA, bill collectors are not allowed to impersonate another organization that includes the IRS. By hiding behind the shield of the IRS, a debt collection agency can motivate a consumer into taking action on a delinquent credit card or personal loan account. However, the company issued a false statement, since the IRS does not get involved in consumer affairs. The agency just wants you to pay your federal income taxes.
Not all false statements made by a bill collector have to be made to you. A company might provide the three major credit reporting agencies with inaccurate consumer information, such as claiming you filed for bankruptcy or a debt you owe now has turned into an uncollectible account. Bill collectors are also not permitted to lie to a third party regarding your debt. A company like Redline Recovery Services might try to leverage the power of shame by making false statements to a friend, family member, and/or professional peer.
How to Handle a Lawbreaking Third Party Debt Collector
To win a claim filed against a bill collector, you typically must present convincing evidence of any wrongdoing. However, for a case involving the false statements made by a debt collection agency, you also have to demonstrate the false statements hindered your ability to evaluate your financial options accurately. In other words, you have to link the illegal actions committed by Redline Recovery Services to the personal financial decisions you made. In 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit added the “material” stipulation for proving false statement cases.
The Importance of Hiring an FDCPA Attorney
Working with an accomplished FDCPA lawyer not only will give you more legal power during a lawsuit, it also will provide you with more insight into other options for dealing with a lawbreaking bill collector. Your FDCPA lawyer might opt to invoke the statute of limitations for collecting debts as mandated by state law. He or she might decide to send Redline Recovery Services a formal cease and desist notice that should end all forms of communication with the debt collection agency.
Schedule a free initial consultation with a licensed FDCPA attorney to decide how you should move forward with your case.
*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 Redline Recovery Services, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.