Monday, November 1, 2010

Debt Collector Harassment Report on Today Show

Lisa Myers reported on debt collector harassment.  Debt collectors were harassing the Whitlocks for a $15,000 debt stemming from landscaping work.  The Whitlocks were not satisfied with the work that was done.  The contractor would not come back to fix it.  Debt collectors began harassing them for $15,000 which was far more than the debt they owed.  The debt collectors threatened the Whitlocks with sending information to the IRS, stating the client was proceeding with a lawsuit that would damage their credit report, and even threatened to have the Whitlocks followed.  The Whitlocks have filed a countersuit and the matter is pending.

Unpaid debt is being sold to debt buyers for pennies on the dollar.  Debt buyers will then sue the consumer.  Debt buyers may not even care if the consumer actually owes the money.  They hope to intimidate a consumer enough so that they will pay, regardless if they owe the debt or not.

The Federal Trade Commission has seen the number of complaints increase from 91,000 in 2007 to over 120,000 in 2009.

To see the full report, go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041440/vp/39737563/

Friday, July 16, 2010

Debt Tagging

Stacie Schaible of News Channel 8 discusses "debt tagging".  Debt tagging is where debt collection companies buy old debt for pennies on the dollar.  The debt collector will call people with the same name as the consumer who owes the debt, with the hope that the debt collector will reach the correct person.  If the debt collector does not reach the correct person, there is a chance that the person the debt collector reaches on the phone will pay the debt because that person fears that it may be a debt that they had forgotten about.  To see the video, go to http://www2.tbo.com/video/2010/jul/14/debt-tagging-46949/video-news/ or to read the article, go to http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jul/15/companies-use-new-bill-collecting-method-debt-tagg.

There are Florida and Federal laws to protect consumers against debt collector harassment.  For more information about these laws, go to www.againstbillcollectors.com/fairdebtlaws.html.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fast Cash International

According to reports, Fast Cash International has been calling people harassing them for loans they do not owe.  One woman received calls stating that she owed $756.12.  She did not owe it and contacted the FBI.  Fast Cash International, according to the woman, was threatening to arrest her and said that they were lawyers for the U.S. federal government.

This is a violation of the FDCPA.  Consumers have rights, even if they owe the debt.  Debt collectors must follow guidelines.  They cannot threaten to have a consumer arrested or impersonate a government entity.  Debt collectors cannot threaten to take a consumer to court, unless they are prepared to do so.

The woman attempted to call Fast Cash International with the number listed on her Caller ID, but the call would not go through.  A website for Fast Cash International did not have a telephone number.

If you are being harassed by a debt collector, contact us at 813-314-4595 or 866-553-3272.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling

Debt collectors can no longer use the "bona fide error" defense under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In the case, Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich, the plaintiff sued the defendant for violating the FDCPA. Carlisle McNellie attempted to foreclose on Ms. Jerman's home, after she had already paid her mortgage. Carlisle McNellie required Jerman to submit proof in writing within 30 days that she had paid the mortgage, but the FDCPA does not require the proof to be in writing.

Carlisle McNellie stated that it should not be held liable due to a "bona fide error".  A lower court agreed.  however, when the case went on to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonya Sotomayor ruled that "ignorance of the law will not excuse any person, either civilly or criminally."

A consumer can take action against a debt collector if the consumer feels the debt collector violated the laws currently in effect.  If you feel your rights have been violated, please contact us at 866-553-3272.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Debt Collectors Calling the Wrong Number

Many consumers are complaining that they are receiving calls from debt collectors looking for other people who may have had their phone number in the past. It can be an automated system contacting you, asking you to press 1 if you are the debtor. What do you do if you are not the debtor and want the calls to stop?

Registering for the DO NOT CALL list will not help. The debt collectors are not trying to sell you anything. The DO NOT CALL list is to stop sales calls.

If you have caller id, you should try to call the phone number that is displayed. If you do not have caller id, you may need to get help from a consumer protection agency to help you call the company.

It may take more than one call to get the calls to stop. Keep a record of the number of times you have called, and the name of the representative with whom you spoke. If you have to call a second time, get the name and address of the company, so that you can send a certified letter telling them to stop.

You may want to contact the Attorney General's Office to report a debt collector. Florida's Attorney General, Bill McCollum, can be reached at:

Attorney General of Florida
The Capitol, PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399
phone: (850) 414-3990
website: www.myfloridalegal.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

Debt Settlement Firm Has Assets Frozen by Alabama Attorney General's Office for Deceptive Practices

Alabama Attorney General's Office and Alabama Securities Commission filed a complaint against Keith Anderson Nelms for violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Mr. Nelms and his firms, Allegro Law LLC and Allegro Financial Services LLC, were advertising as a law firm, but were referring cases to another company, Americorp, which is not a law firm. In addition, Mr. Nelms is not licensed to practice law outside of Alabama. However, his clients were from across the United States.

Allegro promoted debt settlement, wherein clients are encouraged to stop making monthly payments in order to encourage the creditors to write off the debt, and settle for a reduced payment. This results in a lower credit score and additional problems for the consumer, but more fees for the service provider.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Nelms and Allegro have violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act by using false and misleading representations made to consumers. The Sale of Checks Act was also violated in that any person engaging in a business that receives money as agent for obligors for the purpose of paying such obligors' bills, must obtain a license from the Securities Commission prior to conducting business in Alabama. Allegro did not have a license.

Attorney General Troy King said this ended "one of the largest debt settlement schemes in the nation."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer Help Protect Consumers Against Abusive Debt Collectors

Attorney General Bill McCollum is working to protect consumers against bill collector harassment.  The Attorney General’s office has been criticized for not doing enough to address the 4,400 complaints received in 2009.  McCollum’s office proposed an initiative to make some tactics an inherent violation of the State’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In turn, Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink has given her support for four reforms that would make it easier to track abusive debt collectors.  One of the reforms includes reducing the number of complaints needed to refer an abusive collector to the State Attorney or Attorney General, and eliminating a time period required, as opposed to the current requirement of five complaints in one year.

For more information, go to www.againstbillcollectors.com/articles.html