How a Philadelphia Attorney Can Help You Deal With Third Party Debt Collectors

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How a Philadelphia Attorney Can Help You Deal With Third Party Debt Collectors

Debt collection Attorney in Philadelphia
When a previous creditor of yours sells the debt to third-party debt collectors, that new company will do everything they can to seek payment from you. Some of these companies play by the rules, and they don’t harass you, but there are a few that try extreme tactics. If a debt collection agency has harassed you and you aren’t sure what next steps you can take, please continue reading below. In this brief debt collection harassment guide, we will cover what you need to know about your rights regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how you can stop these debt collectors from harassing you. 

What Is Harassment by Third-party Debt Collectors?

Harassment by third-party debt collectors is when a debt collection agency repeatedly calls you with the intention to abuse, annoy, or harass you or whoever answers your phone.  Common examples of harassment:
  • Calling you without disclosing their information
  • Using profane or obscene language when you answer
  • Threats of harm or violence
If a debt collector calls you outside the regular calling hours, between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM, they violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you find yourself harassed by a debt collector, you have the right to seek compensation. 

How To Stop Debt Collection Harassment

There are several ways to stop third-party debt collectors from harassing you. For example, you can write a letter to the debt collector to stop calling you. Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), they must follow your written request. You can report the company to the Federal Trade Commission if they fail to abide by your request. 

Does This Cease My Debt?

Even though you’ve asked them to stop calling you, this does not mean the debt disappears. If you feel the debt is invalid, you should dispute the debt. If the debt is valid and you wish to pay it, reach out to the debt collector to arrange a payment plan. You can also hire an attorney to help you determine your situation’s best course of action. The debt collector may have to stop calling you, but if you fail to acknowledge the debt and take action, they can file a debt lawsuit against you. They also will keep reporting the debt to the credit agencies. It is important to note that the longer you wait to take action, the worse the debt situation can get. 

Document Contact With the Debt Collector

If you notice a debt collector is acting unethically, you should document all of their illegal behavior. Keep a call log of their calls and take notes about what they discussed with you. It helps to also have a witness with you to second what is going on with you. Some people record conversations to help with their case, which is illegal in certain states. Before you record any conversations, make sure you check in with your state’s laws.

File a Complaint With the FTC

As mentioned earlier, if you notice a debt collector is harassing you, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. When reporting the debt, make sure you put the collection agency’s name and address in addition to the name of your original creditor.  Additional information to report:
  • Names of any witnesses
  • Copies of other details such as your harassment call log or any written communication
  • Dates and times of all types of communication
The Federal Trade Commission should get back to your request within thirty days. Depending on their volume and the complexity of your case, it could take longer, or you could receive a response sooner. 

Consider Retaining Help From a Debt Collection Defense Attorney

You can contact a reputable debt collection lawyer for more assistance if all else fails. You have the option to sue the company directly, but that may not be in your best interest. Unless you have experience or extensive knowledge of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you may want to leave the job to a knowledgeable attorney. 

What Can a Debt Collection Attorney Do for Me?

A debt collection attorney will first validate the debt. Debt collectors must follow certain rules in a specific order before they make their collection attempt.  Suppose these collectors fail to follow the proper procedures before, they may not have the right to collect the debt. This means they can be held responsible for not following the appropriate protocol, and you could receive payment for their inaccuracies. 

How Much Does a Debt Collection Defense Attorney Cost?

If you decide to move forward with your case and win, the debt collection agency must pay your attorney fees and provide you with compensation. Each attorney sets their rates for how much they charge their clients. Some charge a flat rate fee, whereas others charge hourly. 

Considerations When Hiring a Debt Collection Lawyer

If you are on the fence about working with a debt collection attorney, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. For example, if you legally owe the debt presented and you are merely just ignoring the debt, you may not need to hire an attorney. If there is no defense you can stand on and the debt collector can prove their case against you and verify the debt, you may lose the battle. Not only will you have to pay the debt you owe, but you also will have to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees in addition to your own attorney’s fees. 

Do You Have a Valid Claim?

Your attorney can raise several different defenses against the debt collector. You may have a claim if you can prove that they were harassing you or acting not according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As mentioned earlier, your attorney will handle presenting the lawsuit on your behalf. If you win, they will deduct their fees from your award, and you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. 

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitation is a defense your attorney can use if the creditor tries to file a lawsuit against you in an untimely manner. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitation to bring a lawsuit for debt is four years. If the creditor continues to harass you and files a lawsuit after those four years, you have a valid claim. 

Improper Filing

As mentioned earlier, debt collectors must go through the proper channels before they can bring a lawsuit up against you or try to collect the debt. If the debt collector did not file the case in the appropriate court, you could have your debt collection defense attorney dismiss the case. 

How To Find the Right Debt Collection Defense Lawyer

If you decide to move forward with the lawsuit, you will want to make sure you work with an attorney who can best help you and your situation. First, you must locate a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania. Second, you must make sure they practice consumer law or collection defense. There are several attorneys out there that practice various sectors of law. Make sure you partner with the right one, or they won’t be much help to your case. 

Check Out Their Reviews

In today’s modern society, everyone likes to leave a review about their experience, whether good or bad. When you find a few attorneys you’re interested in, please review their reviews. You can use websites like the Better Business Bureau or Google Reviews for more insight. Of course, the best way to see if the relationship will work for you is to reach out to them for a free consultation. During that meeting with the attorney, ask them any questions you have. Before starting the working relationship, you want to ensure you’re comfortable with the attorney. 

Help With Third-party Debt Collectors

Receiving threatening and intimidating back-to-back calls from third-party debt collectors is a form of harassment and is punishable by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Although you can opt to deal with these companies on your own, you don’t have to. Instead, you can enlist the help of a reputable and knowledgeable debt collection defense lawyer to handle that on your behalf. Suppose you have a debt collection agency presenting a lawsuit against you or constantly harassing you. In that case, you have the right to seek possible compensation if they violate the FDCPA. Contact us for a free no-obligation case evaluation!

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