April 4, 2012

Stop Collector Harassment Minnesota

Your intuition is correct. You don’t need to suffer harassment because you cannot afford to pay a bill. If you have been harassed by a debt collector contact us today for the free consultation. We may be able to get you compensation for the harassment you have suffered. Federal law protects you from harassing debt collectors.

Prohibited conduct

The Act prohibits certain types of “abusive and deceptive” conduct when attempting to collect debts, including the following:

• Hours for phone contact: contacting consumers by telephone outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time
• Failure to cease communication upon request: communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after receiving written notice that said consumer wishes no further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt, with certain exceptions, including advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies where permitted
• Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously: with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number
• Communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer
• Contacting consumer known to be represented by an attorney
• Communicating with consumer after request for validation has been made: (communicating with the consumer or the pursuing collection efforts by the debt collector after receipt of a consumer’s written request for verification of a debt made within the 30 day validation period (or for the name and address of the original creditor on a debt) and before the debt collector mails the consumer the requested verification or original creditor’s name and address
• Misrepresentation or deceit: misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collector’s misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer
• Publishing the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list
• Seeking unjustified amounts, which would include demanding any amounts not permitted under an applicable contract or as provided under applicable law
• Threatening arrest or legal action that is either not permitted or not actually contemplated
• Abusive or profane language used in the course of communication related to the debt
• Communication with third parties: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer’s spouse or attorney) (Collection agencies are allowed to contact neighbors or co-workers but only to obtain location information; disreputable agencies often harass debtors with a “block party” or “office party” where they contact multiple neighbors or co-workers telling them they need to reach the debtor on an urgent matter.)
• Contact by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business
• Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection

Required conduct

The Act requires debt collectors to do the following (among other requirements):

• Identify themselves and notify the consumer, in every communication, that the communication is from a debt collector, and in the initial communication that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt
• Give the name and address of the original creditor (company to which the debt was originally payable) upon the consumer’s written request made within 30 days of receipt of the §1692g notice;
• Notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt (Section 805), in part or in full, with the debt collector. The 30-day “§1692g” notice is required to be sent by debt collectors within five days of the initial communication with the consumer, though in 2006 the definition of “initial communication” was amended to exclude “a formal pleading in a civil action” for purposes of triggering the §1692g notice, complicating the matter where the debt collector is an attorney or law firm. The consumer’s receipt of this notice starts the clock running on the 30-day right to demand verification of the debt from the debt collector
• Provide verification of the debt If a consumer sends a written dispute or request for verification within 30 days of receiving the §1692g notice, then the debt collector must either mail the consumer the requested verification information or cease collection efforts altogether. Such asserted disputes must also be reported by the creditor to any credit bureau that reports the debt. Consumers may still dispute a debt verbally or after the thirty-day period has elapsed, but doing so waives the right to compel the debt collector to produce verification of the debt. Verification should include at a minimum the amount owed and the name and address of the original creditor.
• File a lawsuit in a proper venue If a debt collector chooses to file a lawsuit, it may only be in a place where the consumer lives or signed the contract[26] Note, however, that this does not prevent the debt collector from being sued in other venues for violating the Act, such as when the consumer moves outside the venue and a letter demanding payment is forwarded to the new address, even if the debt collector is unaware of such a change in residence.

If you suspect that a collector has committed any of the acts or omissions above and you are a Minnesota resident we want to talk to you! We work on a contingency basis, which means that we get paid from any potential winnings. Thus you pay nothing!

Contact us by clicking the link above.

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