National Legal Debt Centers, Inc. – Consumer Alert

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You Can Stop Debt Collectors Harassment!

National Legal Debt Centers, Inc. (3/1/05) With consumer debt increasing dramatically, some collectors are resorting to strong arm tactics. However, collection agencies are limited by the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act”, in what they can do when trying to collect a debt. For the latest information on the new credit bill signed by President Bush, go to:

In recent months, companies that the Federal Trade Commission alleged have threatened and harassed thousands of consumers to get them to pay old, unenforceable debts or debts they did not owe, have agreed to settle charges that their abusive and deceptive collection practices violated federal law and pay a $300,000 civil penalty.

According to the Federal Trade Commission website

A debt collector may not call you at inconvenient times, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., nor contact you at work without your approval.

If you write a letter telling debt collectors to stop contacting you, they must stop. They can only contact you again to say that there will be no further contact or that the creditor plans to take a specific legal or other action. If you have a lawyer, collectors must call the lawyer instead of calling you directly. And, you should have an attorney on your side, to intercede with your creditors. They have their lawyers. You should have yours!

In most cases, the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money. (They can, however, call people you know to find out where you live, your phone number, and place of employment.)

Debt collectors must provide written confirmation of your debt within five days of first contacting you, and must provide information about what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money. If within 30 days you send the collection agency a letter saying you do not owe money, the agency may NOT call you again before verifying the debt.

Debt collectors may not threaten you with violence or harm, use obscene or profane language, or repeatedly use the telephone to annoy or harass you. They may not use any false or misleading statements -- such as falsely implying that they are attorneys or government representatives, or that you have committed a crime -- or misrepresent the amount of your debt. Collectors may not threaten to have you arrested. They also may not threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or creditor has obtained legal permission and intends to do so.

If you believe a debt collector violated the law, you may file suit in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated, or report them to the state attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission.

Contact: National Legal Debt Centers, Inc.:


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