Requirements and Obligations that the Collection Agency Owes to you in St. Louis
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) specifically lays out what is and what is not acceptable conduct on the part of a debt collector or collection agency when they try to collect on a debt. But even though these provisions and rules are clear and straightforward, the collector rarely follows them. The reason why is simple: it is far more profitable to violate the act than it is to obey it. For instance, threatening someone with a wage garnishment or a lawsuit (even though doing so may very well be illegal) tends to frighten people into making a payment. But these intimidation tactics run counter to the law.No Upfront Fees Required. The Collector Must Pay For Your Attorney Fees
According to the FDCPA, debt collectors and collection agencies are legally obligated to do the following:
- The collector must cease all contact with you if you request it. The request must be in written form, and should be sent by way of certified mail.
- The collector must send to you a written notification that plainly indicates certain rights that you have. This would include the fact that you may request validation of the alleged debt, what action(s) you may take if you believe you do not owe the debt, and how long you have to take this action(s). In addition, the collector must clearly identify themselves as a debt collector, and that their communication with you is in an attempt to collect on this debt. The collector must make these notifications within five (5) days after its initial contact with you.
- The collector must cease all contact with you if, within thirty (30) days after you are initially contacted, you send the collector a letter (preferably by way of a certified mailing) that states you do not believe you owe the debt in question.
- The collector may not harass you in any way. This would include things like: 1) giving you the impression that they are attorneys or part of a government agency; 2) giving the impression that you have committed some sort of crime for which you will be prosecuted; 3) giving the impression that they work for or operate a credit bureau; 4) imply that you are going to be arrested by some legal authority; 5) imply that they will garnish your wages, take your private possessions, or seize some of your property; or 6) threaten some sort of legal action against you, like a lawsuit that they do not have the authority to bring.
It should be noted that the examples given above do not constitute an exhaustive list. Indeed, there are a great many other things that the collection agencies do that are violative of the FDCPA. But this is why it is so important to contact an experienced attorney to help you understand your rights under the law.
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