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Protecting Your Rights Against Abusive Debt Collectors
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Video transcript:

Under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there are a lot of prohibitions against certain types of behavior that the debt collectors cannot engage in. Making frequent phone calls – courts have been all over the place in terms of what they consider to be frequent phone calls – but if you're getting 6-7, 8-9 phone calls a day over a few weeks or a month, that's probably a violation. They're also not allowed to discuss your case with anyone. For instance, they can call a neighbor or a relative, and they can say "I'm calling on personal business looking for Joe Smith," for example, "and I just want to confirm his location information." But that's really all they can say, and they can only do it once. But typically, they'll say "This is John Smith calling from ABC Debt Collection Agency," and right there you already have disclosed that you're collecting on a debt, which is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and that's something that we can sue them for. Debt collectors cannot call you before 8am in the morning or after 9pm at night. And when they do call and you pick up the phone, they have to identify who they are, and they have to give you what we call the mini-Miranda warning, advising you that this is an attempt to collect on a debt and any information they get will be used for that purpose. They can't send you any mailings with the name of the debt collector on the outside of the envelope, because it's a dead giveaway to your neighbors, or your postman or anybody that sees it that you're the subject of debt collection. So when the FDCPA was enacted, one of the things that Congress was aware of is that this causes a lot of emotional stress and anxiety for people who owe this money, and they didn't want the debt collectors to compound that type of anxiety. So there's a whole list of things that they're not allowed to do. Anybody who's been on the wrong end of these practices can turn around and sue the debt collectors, and we do that frequently. If we're successful, we get paid by the other side, because the federal law allows for that. We know how to handle these cases; we know how to get debt collectors off people's backs, and we know how to make them pay for their violations of the federal law. It seems that my clients are very happy once we get involved, because it takes the pressure off them when they have somebody that they can lean on who's going to fight for them and run interference for them, and that's what we do.

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