People will tell us ‘I’ve been with this company or that company for 10 years and now that I’m a few months late on my bill I’m getting these harassing phone calls
Towson, MD (Vocus) May 7, 2010
The lawyers at Persels & Associates hear heart-wrenching stories every day from consumers struggling with debt: a medical problem, a lost job, a family suddenly without a mother or father - real stories from real people facing a personal crisis that brings unforeseen bills.
To add insult to injury these people routinely report harassing and unscrupulous phone calls from aggressive debt collectors, leaving them wondering what happened to the Credit Company or lender they had such a wonderful relationship with.
“People will tell us ‘I’ve been with this company or that company for 10 years and now that I’m a few months late on my bill I’m getting these harassing phone calls,” said Joe Cosentini of Persels & Associates. “What the consumers don’t realize is that debt companies often sell debt to collection agencies. The calls they’re getting are not from the company they’ve had a long relationship with. Instead they’re getting hounded by debt collection professionals who can be rough, harassing and difficult to work with. It’s especially tough for families with young children and the elderly and almost unbearable if there’s been a death or if someone in the house is sick or lost a job.”
Many consumers don’t realize that when they’re late on a bill many creditors hire other companies to collect the debt, selling it to a debt buyer for a steep discount. The warm fuzzy relationship you had with a credit card company or loan agency has been turned over to a debt collection pro, some of whom use scare tactics and threats. While consumers have an obligation to pay their debts, these collection “pros” are often untrained and unsupervised leaving consumers reeling from harassing phone calls and threatening letters.
Persels & Associates is here to help. Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to provide guidelines for third party debt collectors who are seeking to collect legitimate debts, while providing protections and remedies for consumers. Third party debt collectors include but are not limited to: collection agencies, collection law firms, and debt buyers.
The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts. It prohibits certain debt collection practices. The following is a list of some of the prohibited collection practices:
- harassing you; contacting you after the collector receives written notice that the collector does not have your consent to contact you;
- state that you will be arrested if you do not pay the debt; continue to contact you after the collector is aware that you retained an attorney;
- use threats of violence or harm in an attempt to collect a debt; use obscene or profane language in an attempt to collect a debt; disclosing the debt to a third party, such as a neighbor, friend, or relative;
- making false or misleading statements; and contacting you at your place of employment when you informed the collector that you and your employer do not consent to such contact and that the contact must cease.
In fact, in 2009, 8,287 federal lawsuits were filed citing violations of the act, a 60 percent rise over the previous year, according to WebRecon, a site that tracks collection-related litigation and the most litigious consumers and lawyers on behalf of debt collectors.
Even the Supreme Court of the United States has taken a stand. On April 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on a case involving a debt collection law firm's mistake in interpreting the Fair Debt Collections Act. The ruling makes it easier for debtors to sue debt collectors, and reinforces the adage - ignorance is no excuse of the law.
Persels & Associates has the resources to enforce our clients’ rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If a third party collector violated the FDCPA, Persels & Associates, LLC, will prepare and, with other firms, file a federal claim against the collector. If a violation is found, the Act entitles you to collect damages. Statutory damages are up to a maximum of $1,000.00 and additional damages may be available. If the claim is successful, the debt collector is required to pay attorney fees and costs and in some cases, the original debt is forgiven or otherwise discharged. For more information visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com
About Persels & Associates
Persels & Associates, LLC, and its entities are pioneers in the field of offering "unbundled" legal services to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. As Americans credit debt rose, Persels & Associates bridged the "gap" between consumers and their debtors. Today, Persels & Associates employs 25 central office staff attorneys and over 150 additional attorneys in the 50 states while representing over 40,000 clients nationwide. For more information, please visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com.
Karen McGagh, KMC