It is late one night and the home phone rings near your bed. You dismiss the call and several hours later, you wake up to a voicemail left by a debt collection agency such as Lockhart, Morris, & Montgomery, Inc. The voicemail is a broadside attack that leaves you feeling highly anxious. The voicemail triggers numerous negative thoughts, as well as one important question.
When can Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery leave a voicemail?
Voicemails and Federal Consumer Protection Law
For the first 200 years or so of American history, consumers had little, if any legal protection against third party debt collectors. The practice of assigning outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts to third party debt collectors really took off after World War III. With credit cards came the inevitable failure of many consumers to send monthly payments on time.
In turn, original creditors outsourced delinquent consumer debts to bill collectors that went after consumers hard. In response to growing consumer frustration, the United States Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Although leaving a voicemail is not a direct violation of the FDCPA, it can be argued by an accomplished FDCPA lawyer that the third party provision of the landmark consumer protection law prohibits the leaving of voicemails. It is highly unlikely that a voicemail left by Lockhart, Morris, & Montgomery, Inc. will not be heard by someone else in your family.
When a Bill Collector Crosses the Voicemail Line
It is not just leaving a voicemail that violates the FDCPA. A debt collection agency can leave repeated voicemails that border on harassment. Under the FDCPA, third party debt collectors are prohibited from repeatedly contacting consumers throughout the day.
If Lockhart, Morris, & Montgomery repeatedly calls you and leaves several voicemails that run deep into the night, you should speak with a licensed consumer protection attorney. The FDCPA also restricts when a bill collector can call you to between 8 am and 9 pm. Your voicemail system will time stamp every voicemail to give you the evidence you need to take your case to a FDCPA lawyer.
The Importance of Gaining Legal Counsel
Your FDCPA attorney will perform a comprehensive review of your case to decide whether to file a claim against Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery. If he or she does not believe you have enough evidence to move forward with a lawsuit, then your FDCPA lawyer will consider other options permitted by the FDCPA. One option is for your consumer protection lawyer to propose negotiations to settle the delinquent credit card or the personal loan account. Accomplished FDCPA lawyers know how to negotiate with the savvy legal counsel representing a third party debt collector.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.