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Debt Collection Statute of Limitations: Know Your Rights!

By Brent Vullings |
Statute-of-Limitations

Living with debt is a difficult proposition for most. You’ve undoubtedly been told by a financial advisor or loved one that there is good debt (home mortgage, auto loan, student loans) and bad debt (overdue credit cards). Regardless of the type of debt you have, all debt comes with a statute of limitations. If you’ve been receiving phone calls from debt collection agencies threatening to sue you for old debts you may have forgotten about, it’s vital that you learn the facts so you can protect yourself against these aggressive and potentially illegal actions. When Debt is Too Old for a Collector to Sue This might be the greatest source of confusion for those under the threat of litigation from overzealous debt collectors. How do you know when debt is too old? According to the Federal Trade Commission, state law typically determines how long the statute of limitations extends on debt. Generally speaking, the clock starts when you fail to make a payment on your debt. When the clock stops depends upon the type of debt in question and the law that applies in either your home state or the state specified in a credit contract. On average, the statute…

Read Full Article | Published in Debt Collection Harassment

Trending Debt Collection Topics – 6/26/15

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

The month of June is drawing to a close, and the first month of summer was dominated by a number of debt collection scams and consumer reaction in the court of law. All the news that was fit to print in the world of debt collection is conveniently wrapped up in the summary below. Phantom Debt Collector Scam Targeting CT Residents Consumers across Connecticut have been receiving convincing phone calls from individuals claiming to represent debt collection services. Callers have the phone numbers, names, and Social Security numbers of consumers, and inform them over the phone that the will be served with papers at work or home for old debt, unless they pay a fine now via credit or debit card. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers not to verify any of that information over the phone and never to give out credit card information. Auto lender receives complain for debt collection tactics Security National Automotive Acceptance Company (SNAAC) was sued in federal court by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for using aggressive debt collection tactics against America’s servicemembers. In the complaint, SNAAC reportedly violated the rights of servicemembers by threatening to contact their commanding officers about their…

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How to Dispute Credit Report Errors with a Creditor

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

If you discovered an error on your credit report, your first reaction is undoubtedly one of frustration. You pay your bills on time, live within your means, and avoid charging too many expenses to your credit cards. Despite your best efforts, inaccuracies or complete mistakes have appeared on your credit report and are dragging down your score. Consumer protection laws in the United States have been formulated over the last 40 years to help protect you from predatory lending, set strict rules for debt collectors, and provide you with options when it comes time to dispute errors on your credit report. What steps can you take to dispute a mistake or inaccuracy you’ve found on your credit report? Establish the Validity of Your Claims Before you contact a creditor with any dispute about information on your credit report, you need to understand whether or not an item is actually wrong. A common example that leads to frustration in many people is the ding your credit score takes from a standard credit inquiry from a lender or other creditor. In reality, credit reporting agencies are legally obligated to report any inquiries made regarding your credit. You can dispute those claims, but…

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Trending Debt Collection Topics – 6/12/15

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

Another week has come and gone, and the news stories keep rolling in across the debt collection industry. In recent weeks, lawsuits and changes to consumer protection laws have dominated headlines. By and large, that trend remains, but light has also been shed on a number of scams making the rounds in America as debt collectors (or imposters) look to collect money that isn’t due. A roundup of all the week’s top headlines is featured below. Bogus Telephone Debt Collectors are Back Residents of Central Florida are receiving disturbing phone calls from bogus debt collectors. Most of the calls follow a similar storyline. The callers have information only a consumer should have about themselves, such as Social Security number, telephone number, or address, and inform individuals that they are calling to collect on debts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. One Orlando-area resident said that the caller “threatened to have someone come over to my house and serve papers.” An investigation found that the calls came from a debt collection scam, and that CR and Associates of Norfolk, VA was behind the calls. The firm has been listed on a number of scam reporting websites since…

Read Full Article | Published in Debt Collection Harassment

Trending Debt Collection Topics – 5/29/15

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

The month of May is almost over, and June is right around the corner. Before you can enjoy the full swing of summer, it’s time to catch up on the trending topics dominating the debt collection industry. Sweeping regulation changes and litigation are taking up all the headlines, but there are some outlying stories worth educating yourself on so you know how to confront them if and when you face them. Read on below to learn more about the trending topics in debt collection. Debt Collector Agrees to Close, Write Off $3M in Debt An Atlanta-area debt collector has agreed to a deal with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection to shut down his company, pay $15,000 in penalties, and cease efforts to collect on over $3.1 million in purported debt. Earnest Earvin IV is the owner of Zenith Financial Group, and has agreed to exit the debt collection business completely, and remain out of the industry for five years. Should he violate the terms of his agreement, he will immediately be subject to an additional $445,000 penalty. Zenith Financial is accused of violating the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act by, among other things, threatening action against consumers it had…

Read Full Article | Published in Debt Collection Harassment

Trending Debt Collection Topics – 5/25/15

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

With more and more Americans carrying debt, both good and bad, the number of debt collection news headlines is on the rise. From scams and lawsuits to changing laws, debt collection is a hot topic in America right now. The following topics are currently trending in the world of debt collection. Credit Reporting Agencies Will Change Practices and Pay $6 Million to Resolve Complaints Consumers are fed up with abusive and annoying tactics used by credit agencies and debt collectors, and the nation’s leading credit reporting agencies are taking the lead responding to those complaints. Reacting to consumer complaints, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian will pay $6 million to consumers in 31 states to resolve disputes stemming from inaccuracies on credit reports. Credit Agencies Agree to Fix Errors Faster The problems are piling up for America’s three major credit reporting agencies. Already paying $6 million to settle claims in 31 states, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian must also fix their “fundamentally flawed” reporting systems. The three major agencies must move more quickly to resolve disputed information on credit reports, wait longer before adding items to consumer reports, and use more caution when evaluating certain data provided by collection agencies and other third-party groups….

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How To Stop Phone Harassment From Debt Collectors?

By Brent Vullings |
phone-harassment-1

Financial worries create additional stress that is damaging to your emotional and physical health. Dealing with the overdue notices and monthly bills from creditors is difficult enough without the harassing phone calls that often accompany your debt. You are no doubt aware of your financial distress, which means you don’t need the constant reminders from aggressive debt collectors calling your home on a regular basis. A lot of people feel helpless when it comes to fighting back against the abuse of debt collectors. In a past post, we covered some tips to help you “Bring an End to Debt Collection Harassment,” but in this post we’d like to focus more tightly on phone calls. Constant phone calls are the most annoying form of harassment, so what can you do to stop those harassing calls from debt collectors? Talk to Your Debt Collectors Many people opt to dodge the calls by hanging up or ignoring future calls. You are well within your legal rights to hang up on debt collectors or refuse to answer their calls, but that doesn’t mean the stream of calls will stop flowing. If you have the courage to do so, engage with your debt collectors. Answer…

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“Phantom Debt Collecting” Scam

By Brent Vullings |

The latest consumer scam is something called “phantom debt collecting.” Usually the scam begins with a phone call where the caller alleges a victim owes money for something. An intimidating voice on the other end informs the victim that he or she owes money and must pay up immediately or face legal action. However, in this scam, the debt doesn’t even belong to the victim. Such calls cause many consumers to question whether someone has taken out loans in their name because these con artists are that intimidating and persuasive. Thousands of consumers have experienced this frightening situation in recent years. This is the second most complained about problem reported by consumers, second only to identity theft. The callers pose as valid debt collectors and may even have a few pieces of personal information, such as the last four digits of your social security number. The caller may inquire about more personal information. In these situations, “phantom debt collecting” could lead to identity theft. So how do consumers protect themselves? First, if you receive a phone call from someone alleging they are collecting a debt, ask for the company’s name and address and for the name of the original creditor. Hang up if…

Read Full Article | Published in Debt Collection Harassment, Scam Alerts

Bring an End to Debt Collection Harassment

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

You’ve undoubtedly heard the old saying that “knowledge is power.” Although it may seem cheesy, perhaps even overused, there is a lot of truth to this phrase. The more informed you are, the better you are able to protect yourself in certain situations. Take debt collection harassment as an example. Millions of Americans receive phone calls each day informing them that they have outstanding debt that needs to be collected. These phone calls often include intimidation and outright threats to force people to pay. The collection agencies using these tactics generally force people to use a credit card over the phone to pay off this debt. There is no shame in carrying debt. In fact, millions of Americans have debt. No one enjoys being saddled with this burden, and everyone with debt would love to be rid of it. Regardless of your situation, debt collection harassment is not something you have to put up with. If you have debt and have dodged some of these phone calls or other harassment tactics, it’s important to inform yourself about debt collection harassment, common tactics used, and what to do to avoid that harassment. What Constitutes Harassment? As an individual with debt, you…

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The Most Common FDCPA Violations

By Brent Vullings |
Gavel and Scale

The Fair Debt Collection Practices ACT (FDCPA) was established to protect consumers from aggressive, harassing, or threatening collection tactics by debt collection agencies. Most Americans with debt have likely encountered debt collection harassment at one point in time or another. It can be as subtle as an early morning phone call on the weekend, or as aggressive as a phone call that features threatening language. The FDCPA not only protects consumers with debt from these aggressive tactics, but it also provides them with recourse against the debt collection agencies violating the guidelines of the law. What are the most common FDCPA violations you should be aware of? Inconvenient and Excessive Phone Calls This is perhaps the single most common violation of the FDCPA. There are two guidelines within the law that cover the time and frequency of contact debt collectors can have with a debtor. First and foremost, debt collection phone calls are prohibited between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, if you receive constant phone calls while you are at work or during business hours (if you work from home), and have told the debt collector to stop, they must abide by that request. Ignoring these guidelines is a violation…

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