Friday, October 9, 2009

Can you inherit debt?

If a family member dies and leaves unpaid debt, who is responsible for paying it?  The Federal Trade Commission is trying to help people understand their responsibilities.  The FTC has issued an alert stating that family members are not responsible for the debt, unless you are the spouse, and even the spouse's responsibility may be limited.  The person's estate is responsible for paying the debt.  Therefore, before any money is distributed to family members, generally, all debts must be paid.

For more information, you can read this article

If a debt collector is harassing you about the debt, you can contact our firm for assistance.  Contact us.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Debt Collectors Using Texting to Contact Consumers

Some debt collectors are resorting to sending text messages to contact consumers. Consumers should not have to pay to be contacted by a debt collector. Since some phone plans charge per text message, the consumer is being charged each time a debt collector sends them a text message.

The Federal Trade Commission is working to change the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to include banning cell phone contact and texting.

For more information, go to

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Abusive Debt Collectors

CBS News reported on a woman who was being harassed by debt collectors for a bill she didn't owe. The debt collectors claimed she owed $4400. She paid $900 to settle because she felt she couldn't pay an attorney to fight the claim. She did not realize that the debt collectors would have to pay her attorneys' fees if she was successful, so she could have hired an attorney without any cost to her.

Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General, sued the group that was harassing the consumer. The difficult part can be that these debt collectors close their offices (after being sued numerous times) and then re-open under different names.

Watch the video.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Zombie Debt

Zombie Debt is old debt that has resurfaced. The debt may have been settled in bankruptcy proceedings, may not have been your responsibility, such as identity theft, or the statute of limitations may have expired.

If you have been contacted by a debt collector regarding an old debt, send them a certified letter asking for proof that you owe the debt. Check the statute of limitations on old debt. If the collector files suit against you, attend the hearing with evidence that the statute of limitations has expired. Do not agree to make a payment to show good faith, because that will re-establish the debt.

Even if you owe the debt, you have rights. Send the debt collector that is harassing you a cease and desist letter by certified mail. If the debt collector continues to harass you, you can take legal action.

If you have requested proof that you owe the debt and the debt collector cannot provide it to you, be sure to fill out a credit report dispute so that it will be deleted from your credit report.

If you need assistance with understanding your rights, please contact us at 866.553.3272.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ABC's 20/20 Nightline

A laid off executive was harassed by a bill collector for being late on his car payment. The debt collector called in the middle of the night, threatening to wake up his neighbors and let them know he didn't pay his bills.

A bill collector was constantly harassing a woman at work and even threatened to call her employer's payroll department to let them know she wasn't paying her bills.

An identity theft victim was continually called by bill collectors for a debt that she didn't owe. Even after she explained that she had filed a police report, they called to harass her about the debt.

If you are being harassed by a debt collector, you have rights. Contact us for more information.

Watch the video:

Friday, July 10, 2009

ABC7 Exposes More Debt collector Illegal Tactics

Victims of aggressive debt collectors share their stories. A young woman was continually harassed about an old debt that she didn't owe. She didn't have a credit card at the time the debt was incurred. For more cases regarding debt not owed, see

Watch the video:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ABC News - Credit Card Predators

Debt collectors can use tactics that are intimidating and sometimes illegal. A woman's neighbor was contacted by debt collectors. The debt collectors told the neighbor that the woman was going to be arrested for not paying her bill. This is illegal. To stop debt collector harassment, start by sending a certified letter. To see a sample letter, go to our blog dated September 22, 2008. and then contact us.

Watch the video:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fox Morning Show with Mike and Juliet - Bill Collector Harassment

Fox Morning Show discusses bill collector harassment, such as calling late at night and calling numerous times at their work. The story involves a woman, whose husband was serving in Iraq, who received numerous phone calls from a debt collector stating that her husband hadn't paid off his student loan. The bill collector threatened to take their house and their car. She had to contact her husband serving in Iraq. He said that he had paid off the student loan before going off to war. When the wife relayed this to the bill collector, they didn't believe her and continued to harass her.

Another story involves a woman that fell behind on her payments because her husband was out of work. The debt collector began harassing her at work by calling numerous times and embarassing her in front of her co-workers. They contacted her co-workers and asked them to relay messages to her regarding being late on her payments. You have rights. For more information, go to

Watch the video:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

MSNBC Video - Consumers Cry Foul

MSNBC reported on a war veteran that was harassed by debt collectors. The debt collector threatened to contact the military regarding an old debt that the war veteran had thought was taken care of years ago. The FTC is inundated with complaints about debt collector harassment. There are Florida and Federal laws to protect you. For more information go to

Watch the video:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How do you stop a debt collector from harassing you?

If you have fallen behind on your payments due to an illness or a job layoff, debt collectors will be calling you. They have the right to collect on the money you owe, but some debt collectors cross the line.

There are some collectors that threaten to have you arrested, make improper bank withdrawals, intimidate people and make harassing phone calls. According to the National Consumer Law Center, a collector has even threatened to call a woman's work place until she lost her job. The Better Business Bureau reported that one debt collector called a consumer's grandmother four times a day using threats such as "if she dies, then her life insurance can pay this debt off."

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly. If the debt is legitimate, then you have to pay it, but you still have rights.
  • A debt collector cannot call you before 8 am or after 9 pm.
  • You cannot be contacted at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves.
  • Write a letter telling the debt collector to stop calling you.
  • If you have an attorney, tell the debt collector to contact the attorney. If you don't have one, the debt collector can ask your friends and family about how to get in touch with you.
  • A debt collector cannot use profane or threatening language.
  • A debt collector cannot misrepresent the amount of your debt, such as in the case of a consumer, who filed for bankruptcy in 1993. She was contacted in December of 1997, saying she had an unpaid credit card balance of $5,655 from 1992. With interest the letter claimed the debt had grown to $19,400.
  • Debt collectors cannot say that they will put a lien on your property, unless the really mean to do so.
  • Debt collectors cannot legally claim federal benefits, such as Social Security or your retirement accounts, like your IRA or 401(k) unless the debt is owed to the federal government. In 1996, Congress passed the Debt Collection Improvement Act which allows the government to take a portion of federal retirement, federal salary and Social Security benefit checks to cover non-tax debts owed to the government, such as federal student loans.
  • A debt collector may not use false statements, such as: falsely implying that they are attorneys, that you have committed a crime, or that they operate or work for a credit bureau or misrepresenting the amount of your debt, the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt, or indicating that papers sent to you are legal forms when they are not.
Once you have been contacted by telephone, the debt collector must outline your debt, stating the amount, whom you owe the money to, and what action to take if you don't owe the money. If you don't owe the debt, you must write a letter stating you don't owe the money within 30 days.

If you decide to pay the debt, even if you don't owe it, just to get rid of the debt collector, it is an admission of guilt and it will have a negative impact on your credit score.

There is a statue of limitations on debt. Generally 3 to 15 years. Check with your state attorney general's office to find out the limit in your state (Florida State Attorney General's website: Do not accept new credit offers from a creditor you never repaid. Once your credit relationship is renewed, the statute of limitations starts over again.

If you have been treated unfairly, contact your state attorney general's office. You should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission 877-FTC-HELP or go to

You have the right to sue a debt collector in state or federal court within a year of the date the law is violated. You may recover money for the damages you suffered plus an additional amount up to $1,000. A group may also sue a collector and for damages up to $500,000 or one percent of the collector's net worth, whichever is less.

Monday, June 29, 2009

MY9NEWS Reporter exposes NJ debt collector

Old debts, known as zombie debt, can resurface without warning. Credit card companies sell the debt to debt collectors, who then contact you and increase the amount owed. You have 30 days from the day you receive the letter from the debt collector or bill collector to respond. Send a certified letter to the debt collector. See our blog dated January 22, 2009 for complete information to include in the letter.

For more information on zombie debt, read

Watch the video:

Friday, June 26, 2009

MSNBC Video - Deceptive Practices Used by Debt Collectors

MSNBC investigates deceptive practices used by debt collectors. The video shows debt collectors that pretend to be police officers in order to trick people into thinking they are going to be arrested. This is illegal. There are Florida and Federal laws to protect you. For more information go to

Watch the video

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saxon Gilmore represented two consumers against Suncoast Vacations. As a result of our efforts, the company decided not to pursue the charge for a vacation rental package, which was contested by our clients.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A federal judge in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, recently entered a judgment for statutory damages against Equilease Residential Services, LLC and in favor of our clients pursuant to the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. The Court approved the full amount of statutory damages sought by our clients.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Complaint filed against debt collection agency

A class-action complaint has been filed against CollectionCenter Wyoming, a debt collection agency. The plaintiff alleged that CollectionCenter Wyoming sent collection notices for past due medical bills after a judgment was ordered in Laramie County Circuit Court. This was in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

CollectionCenter Wyoming had garnished the plaintiff's wages for the past due medical bills. The funds to cover the garnishment were paid to the Clerk of the Court. However, a month later, the debt collection agency sent another notice to the plaintiff.

In addition, according to the court documents, the debt collection agency included private identifying information in its court filings that could lead to identity theft.

A prior complaint against CollectionCenter Wyoming stating the collection agency had made continued attempts to collect on a debt after the claims on that debt were dismissed has been settled and the suit was dropped with prejudice.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Investigating Debt Collection Firms

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he is expanding his probe into twenty bill collection and debt collection firms for abusive or deceptive debt collection practices. Cuomo's office shut down two of Lamont Cooper's firms, called Emanee Development, Inc. and Dial Tech LLC. Allegedly, the firms violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The Attorney General's Office plans to look into collection practices and how bill collection and debt collection firms deal with complaints. The Attorney General's goal is to stop the harassing phone calls, frivolous lawsuit threats made by the bill collectors or debt collectors, and any other violations of the law.

If you are being harassed by bill collectors or debt collectors, contact us.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Debt Collectors Using Facebook
Posted By: Jessica Duff
May 7, 20009

In today's Web report, Jessica Duff takes a look at the issue of debt collectors using Facebook to contact people that owe money. But is it legal? Apparently it is not legal to use such tactics. It violates both state and federal law. It shows how desperate debt collectors are to track down overdue accounts.

There are people on Facebook that actually work for debt collection agencies. And they may be requesting to be your friend.

Many debtors are having employees create accounts on Facebook. This is what consumer experts are calling facebait. But some debt collectors are getting to be deceptively sneaky.

"Using any false, deceptive or misleading methods would be illegal under federal law," says consumer attorney Jason Baxter.

"We've seen a rise in the number of calls where debt collectors are becoming more and more aggressive and more and more creative," Baxter adds.

Among the things a debt collector is not allowed to do is publicly embarrass or humiliate the debtor.

On Facebook, the law requires a debt collector to identify him or herself once they are your friend. When this happens, however, all of that person's other friends know he's in debt.

That's harassment. And that's illegal.

If you are being harassed by a bill collector, contact us.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stacie Schaible of Newschannel 8 had an interesting segment on bill collector harassment "Money 911: Bill Collector Advice". To see the video, go to this website:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Have you been Harassed or Mistreated by a Debt Collector in the Past One or Two Years?

If so, you may have an action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

The Act prohibits Debt Collectors from:

• Not telling you during the first call, or in the first letter, that they are debt collectors attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose
• Refusing to identify themselves or their employer on the phone
• Calling you constantly
• Calling you between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
• Swearing at you or insulting you on the phone
• Leaving you abusive phone messages or phone messages that refer to your debt
• Calling, or threatening to call, your neighbors, friends, or employers and telling them about your debt
• Calling you at work after you have told them not to call you at work
• Threatening you with lawsuits, garnishment of wages, liens on property, or arrest for not paying a bill

If you have suffered from any of these abusive collection practices, you may be entitled to compensation.


As a consumer, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against any debt collector who violates your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Act allows a consumer to recover statutory damages of up to $1,000, actual damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. There is a similar provision under Florida law.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information regarding your rights under the Act, please click on the following link for Against Bill Collectors’ website: If you would like your case evaluated, you can contact Against Bill Collectors toll free at 866.553.3272 or

Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Webinar

Consumer Lawyer Michael Rosen will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday, April 30, at 1:00 ET. The topic will be "Stop Debt Collector Harassment". Items discussed will include how you can protect yourself from illegal debt collection tactics and a discussion about Florida and Federal Laws on the subject.

To register for the event, please send an email to to let us know and instructions will be sent to you.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Are you being harassed by debt collectors or bill collectors for past due medical bills? Have you received proof that you actually owe these bills? Under HIPAA, patients have a right to access information which also can be used to verify the validity of a person's medical debt. You should send a certified letter to the collection agency requesting a detailed itemized statement, UB-04 coding abstract for hospital debts or CMS-1500 detailed statement for insurance provider debts.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that you have the right to demand that the debt collector stop further contact until these documents are produced. The debt collector may not be able to produce these documents.

Contact us for assistance in understanding your rights.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

After graduation, you may have more than just student loans to payoff. More college students are getting into debt from credit cards. University of South Florida, Florida State University, and many more universities across the country are making millions of dollars from marketing deals with credit card issuers.

The banks acquire the mailing lists from the universities and send out mass mailings, or setup booths on the universities to entice college students to sign up for their credit cards with the school's logo. The university then receives money for each credit card issued. This practice is, in effect, encouraging students to get into debt.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are reviewing the situation.

Of course, students can get into debt on their own. Over spending and making the monthly minimum payments on their credit cards is a recipe for disaster. If you are a college student who is behind on your bills and being harassed by debt collectors or bill collectors, contact us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Techniques Debt Collectors or Bill Collectors will use to get you to pay:

Debt collectors or bill collectors are, in effect, salesmen. Many are paid a commission based on the number of debts they are able to collect. They will strongly urge you to send your check to them immediately, via FedEx or Express Mail, which will add another $12 to the debt you already owe.

Debt collectors or bill collectors may try to get you to give them a credit card number to charge the monthly payments. You don't want to use credit to pay off credit. You will never get out of debt.

They may tell you to pay with Telecheck, and that all you need to do is give them your checking account number and routing number. The payments will be deducted automatically from your checking account. If there is not enough money in your checking account, you will be charged overdraft charges by your bank, so you will have even less money to pay your creditors.

Your best bet is to mail the check to the debt collector or bill collector via certified mail, so that you have a record of receipt.

If the debt collector or bill collector decides to sue you and gets a judgment, they may garnish up to 25% of your wages. The debt collector or bill collector may try to seize your bank account. If you own property, the debt collector or bill collector may record a lien against your property, which will have to be paid when the property is sold.

Some debt collectors or bill collectors may use deceptive practices, such as telling you that they will settle for a lesser amount and then when you send in the check, send the remainder of your debt to another debt collector to collect the difference. Other debt collectors or bill collectors have been known to cross out the words "Paid in Full" on the check and then deposit the check. This practice is illegal in many states, such as Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Know your rights. Contact us.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If you have been contacted by a debt collector or bill collector, you have the right to validate the debt. Send the debt collector or bill collector a certified letter with a return receipt requested, asking for the name and address of the original creditor, the total amount owed (original amount owed and any interest or penalties listed separately), and any payments made on the account. You may want to request the original signed document. If the debt collector or bill collector is not the original creditor, then ask for proof that the original creditor has sold its debt to the collection agency.

Section 809 (U.S.C. Section 1692g) of the FDCPA states that

(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

Keep a record of any contact you have with the debt collector. Here is a form for you to use. Contact form

After 30 days, if they have not sent you satisfactory proof, send a copy of your receipt for your registered mail, a copy of the first letter that you sent and a letter stating that they need to remove the collection listing from your credit report because they are now in violation of the FDCPA, section 809(b). Again, send this via certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy of the letter.

If they do not agree to remove the listing, then contact us.