The debt was so out of control she almost felt like she deserved the punishing phone calls she was getting from her creditors. In fact, she got to the point where she was just too frightened to answer her phone anymore. They found out where she worked and tried to reach her boss. They threatened to arrest her at her office. They called her names, used profanity and made her feel like a failure. Finally one day she said, “Enough is enough, I’ve got to do something about this.” Then she called us.
A lawsuit against the debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was definitely in order. But, it was too late. There is a limit on how long you have to sue a debt collector for violations of the FDCPA. Generally, a lawsuit must be brought within one year of the violation’s occurrence. This means that the clock starts ticking after that first phone call or message or after the first letter was sent (not received). Not all communication from a debt collector is illegal. But if you feel like you’re getting bullied, bugged or punished by a debt collector then call or contact us at Nancy L. Thompson Law Office, P.C. so we can help determine whether their actions warrant a lawsuit.
What to do if you are being harassed by a debt collector:
- Keep great records! Record the day, time and message of each call. The more details the better. Did they leave a name? A name of the debt collection agency? The call back number?
- Keep all correspondence from the debt collector, including the envelopes! The envelopes are time-stamped and can sometimes provide a date when the actual bill/letter may not.
- Be your own private investigator. If you feel empowered enough to answer the calls, know the right questions to ask. Debt collectors are notorious for dodging questions because at the end of the day they just want your money. If we do pursue a lawsuit we’re going to have to ensure that this debt collector is a legitimate company (and not located in a foreign country) with a real address to serve them with a lawsuit. We’ll do our own digging but any information you can get from them initially will aid in our ability to sue.
Here are some common reasons clients “bury their head in the sand…”
- You think (or hope) the problem will go away. This may be true, but don’t count on it. We’ve seen debt collectors get pretty brutal with our clients –to the point of threatening their employment and livelihood. A lot of collection agencies will just keep selling your debt from one enity to anohter.
- You don’t want to sue anybody. Litigation is risky. Litigation can be a long process. These things are true but the brunt of the work is on us, not you. Your lawsuit against this creditor might just be the one that stops their behavior for good!
- You can’t afford a lawsuit. As with many civil lawsuits, we work on a contingency basis. This means that we don’t get paid unless we win. And when we win, we only take a percentage of whatever money we win for you. The only real upfront costs to you may be the filing fee in either state or federal court.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. There are laws in place to protect consumers (YOU) from these unlawful behaviors. Don’t bury your head in the sand. There’s too much at stake.