Articles Posted in FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act)


“From pretending to be police or attorneys to calling you at all hours of the night to trying to tack on interest you don’t owe” the Consumerist website presents “nearly two dozen things the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) forbids collectors from doing.”

This is a great list to review to determine if a debt collector is violating the law so you can then contact us to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf. Remember the debt collector cannot be the lender but must be a different party such as a debt collection firm or a lawyer hired by the lender in order for you to have a claim under federal unfair debt collection laws. Click here to see the list of 23 violations of federal unfair debt collection laws.

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Debt collector letters to consumers can violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act otherwise known as the FDCPA if they confuse unsophisticated consumers and set time lines that contradict or over shadow the time lines provided in the FDC for validation of debts.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector’s dunning letter to a debtor must contain:

(1) the amount of the debt; (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed; (3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector; (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and (5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. 15 U.S.C. § 692g(a).

The FDCPA also dictates that“[a]ny collection activities and communication during the 30-day period may not overshadow or be inconsistent with the disclosure of the consumer’s right to dispute the debt or request the name and address of the original creditor.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b).

The 7th Circuit in a new opinion has rejected a claim that a dunning letter from a debt collector for Capital One was overshadowed a consumer’s notice rights under the FDCP. In Zemeckis v. Global Credit Collection Corp., Capital One retained Global, a collection agency, which sent plaintiff, its debtor, a dunning letter with notice of her debt validation rights. Plaintiff claimed that the content as a whole over-shadowed the debt validation notice, violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692g. The district court dismissed, stating that language like “act now” is only puffery and that placement of the notice on the back of the letter complies with the Act. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, upholding the district court’s rejection of a request to conduct a consumer survey to prove that the letter was confusing. However, the 7th Circuit recognized that in cases where it is not easily apparent that the dunning letter contains mere puffery consumer surveys are useful. It also recognized that placing deadlines with exact time frames such as one week to act or referencing set number of days to act that do not conform with the FDCPA timelines do violate the FDCPA.

You can see the entire 7th Circuit opinion in Zemeckis v Global Credit Collection Corp. by downloading the file here.

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The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Debt Panels
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Colbert commented on an interesting New York Times article which reported on how debt collectors are now secretly embedded in hospitals posing as hospital staff to collect on hospital bills and other medical debts.

Our law firm fights to stop these illegal practices when the debt collectors cross the line and engage in illegal collection practices such as those described by the New York Times.

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The Chicago Tribune Reports that aggressive debt collectors are clogging the Cook Courts with many new debt claims and that their poor record keeping practices and other missteps are resulting in judgments sometimes entering for debts that have already been repaid. You can read the full article by clicking here.

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The Wall Street Journal reports:

Martha Kunkle has come back to life.She died in 1995. Yet her signature later appeared on thousands of affidavits submitted by one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., in lawsuits filed against borrowers.

The article describes that Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. is facing class action lawsuits for using a dead woman’s name to claim that debts it is seeking to collect are legitimate.

Our Naperville, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.

Our Aurora consumer attorneys provide assistance in fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases we have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Chicago consumer protection lawyers who can assist in lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, consumer fraud or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here.


Confessions of former debt collectors
These people share their experiences in the collections industry — and why they left.

By Mel Harsh
CNN has a terrific article containing confessions from debt collectors. You should read all of the confessions to get a eye opening view of the world of debt collectors. One of the many debt collectors quoted in the article had this to say about her “profession”:

Collectors I knew regularly held contests to see who could make the most people cry in one day.

A co-worker at my office overheard another collecting agent telling a debtor in Spanish that she was going to send someone over to his house to beat him with a tire iron, because she didn’t think anyone in the office would understand her.

You’d be surprised what goes on behind closed doors. Every day, you were asked to break the law. …

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