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Stop Debt Collector Deceit! Learn Consumer Protection Laws and Definitions
Stop Debt Collector Deceit! Learn Consumer Protection Law and Definitions
Foremost, people must be informed of consumer protection laws and definitions with respect to debt collection practices. This article will discuss the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, which is a consumer protection law that guides the way in which debt collectors can attempt to collect a debt. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, will be addressed as such and or as the FDCPA throughout this article.
Additionally, included you will find some Black’s Law definitions as they relate to consumer protection meanings one should be aware of, in order to defend oneself effectively.
The most important part of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, is the validation section. This part requires that a debt collector validates the claims. This means that a debt collector must show proof that you owe the debt to the debt collector.
Please note that a debt collector cannot validate a debt he/she bought from a bank or any other entity unless you knowingly consent to such. Many times debt collectors come after people regarding a debt they bought. To avoid, being scammed by such, people should learn about the validation protections in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Normally, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using “false, deceptive or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.” Attorneys who regularly engage in consumer debt collection activities through litigation on behalf of a creditor are debt collectors and certain notices by such attorneys are subject to the provisions of the FDCPA.
Please note that the attorney acting as a debt collector or the collection agency may not even be legally entitled to collect the debt from you. On behalf of preventing misrepresentation, the business relationship between a consumer and a debt collector must be determined before collection activities are even considered.
Under the FDCPA, you are allowed to validate this debt, and the creditor specifically, the collection agency must show proof that you owe the debt to the collection agency and not to the original creditor.
The specific section of the FDCPA is Section 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]. It states that:
(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
In summary, this means that as soon as one receives a debt collection notice from a debt collector you never contracted with, you must dispute the debt and demand the debt collector validates the debt. To validate the debt means that the debt collector must show that you have a valid contract with the debt collection agency.
This leads to the question: What is debt validation? According to research done by the credit infocenter, validation means:
- Proof that the collection company owns the debt/or has been assigned the debt. (Bob is legally entitled to collect this particular debt from you.) This is basic contract law. It is very difficult to get a judgment without a direct contract between collection agency and the original creditor.
- At a minimum, some account statements from the original creditor. If you really want to get sticky, you can pin them down on the amount of the debt by requiring complete payment history, starting with the original creditor. (How the heck did Bob calculate this debt? What fees/interest Bob has tacked on to this debt and how he determined these fees?) This requirement was established by the case Fields v. Wilber Law Firm, Donald L. Wilber and Kenneth Wilber, USCA-02-C-0072, 7th Circuit Court, Sept 2004.
- Copy of the original signed loan agreement or credit card application.(Your contract with Joe establishing the debt between you.) However, account statements from the original can fulfill these requirements.
- Below is a summary of some of the more important sections of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act,:
- § 807 False or misleading representations or unconscionable means to collect
- § 808 Unfair practices
- § 809 Validation of debts
The above protections seek to protect consumers from the below:
False and Misleading Statement - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - Failure to state material fact made letter a "false and misleading statement" whithin rule of securities and exchange commission. Securities and exchange commission v. Okin, C.C.A.N.Y., 132 F.2d 784, 787
False Pretenses - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - Designed misrepresentation of existing fact or condition whereby person obtains another's money or goods. People v. Gould, 363 ill. 348, 2 N.E.2d 324.
False or Fraudulent Claim - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - A "false or fraudulent claim" within meaning of statute providing for punishment of any one receiving proceeds of fraudulent audit or payment, since to be "false or fraudulent," must be a claim for services or materials not actually rendered or furnished. People v. Dally, 175 Misc. 680, 24 N.Y.S.2d 692, 695.
False Representation - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - A representation which is untrue, willfully made to deceive another to his injury.
Falsification - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - In equity practice. The showing an item in the debit of an account to be either wholly false or in some part erroneous.
Deceit- Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - A fraudulent and cheating misrepresentation, artifice, or device, used by one or more persons to deceive and trick another, who is ignorant of the true facts, to the prejudice and damage of the party imposed upon. People v. Chadwick, 143 Cal. 116, 76 P. 884.
Defamation - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - The taking from one's reputation. The offense fo injuring a person's character, fame, or reputation by false and malicious statements. The term seems to include both libel and slander.
Malicious- Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - Characterized by, or involving, malice; having, or done with, wicked or mischievous intentions or motives; wrongful and done intentionally without just cause or excuse. People v. Knapp, 274 N.Y.S. 85, 152 Misc. 368.
Malicious Accusation- Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - Procuring accusation or prosecution of another from improper motive and without probable cause. McKenzie v. State, 113 Neb. 576, 204 N.W. 60, 63.
Malicious Prosecution - Blacks Law Dictionary 4th Edition - One begun in malice without probable cause to believe the charges can be sustained. Eustace v. Dechter, 28 Cal.App.2d 706, 83 P.2d 523, 525.
If you are faced with bill collectors that practice the above acts, the first step is to align their acts/letters with similar definitions to the ones above. This means putting evidence together that shows fraud or that you have no contract with the debt collector.
Examples of this include gathering a credit report showing the debt paid and the debt collector’s threat to garnish or collect. Save the debt collector’s letters and letters you have written them asking them to show that you have a valid contract with them. After gathering your ammunition, write a letter requesting validation pursuant to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, § 809 Validation of debts.
Finally, to report any problems you have with a debt collector, you should contact your state Attorney Generals office and the Federal Trade Commission. Many states have their own debt collection laws, and your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights.
In closing, you can stop debt collector fraud by learning consumer protection definitions and laws today. To help you out, the below link has a sample request for validation letter this author has had to use. Create your own and use such as a counter claim weapon to stop commercial fictional administration based on false pretenses, fraud and deceit.
Above all, enjoy your money in your pocket by learning the laws of the land and contributing to making the United States a more honest and just place to live. Stop the false phenomenon of above the law by stopping the greedy from stealing from we the people via falsification, misrepresentation, and all other illegalities defined above. Keep reading!
Sample Debt Validation Letter
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act,
FTC Staff Commentary on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act