Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Debt collection agencies are required to comply with a number of state and federal regulations. Perhaps the most important of these laws is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA bars all types of conduct by debt collectors, including:
- Contacting a third party, such as a relative, neighbor or employer who does not owe the debt
- Making repeated telephone calls or telephone calls at unreasonable times. Pursuant to the FDCPA, unreasonable times are defined as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Threatening to refer the account to an attorney, harm the debtor’s credit rating, repossession or garnishment, without intending to follow through on the threat
- Sending letters that appear to have come from a court
- Seeking collection fees, interest charges or taxes not permitted by contract or by state law
This is by no means a complete list of conduct barred by the FDCPA. The fact is that debt collectors routinely violate the FDCPA. Generally speaking, if one person has been harmed by a debt collection agency, it is likely that others have been harmed by similar conduct. If you have reason to believe that you are the victim of abusive or illegal actions by a debt collector, it is critical to discuss these issues with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Debt collection agencies typically handle a large number of files at a given time. Frequently, these agencies rely on form letters that are sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. When the contents of these letters violate the FDCPA, it is likely that hundreds or thousands of people have claims.
If you are being harassed by debt collection agencies, do not allow them to continue making you afraid to answer your phone or to cause you embarrassment in your community or with your family. Contact Steburg Law Firm, P.C. to help you retake control of the situation. Working with you we can put the debt collector’s on the defense and in many cases extinguish the debt through settlement or court judgment.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
If you need to dispute a credit report, Steburg Law Firm, P.C., are experienced credit report attorneys that can provide helpful expertise in legal consumer credit repair as well as credit report disputes. Unfortunately, credit report errors are a common problem, and it is pertinent to ensure your personal information is correct and that your rights are not being violated due to inconsistencies or errors. There are many possible credit report errors such as mixed credit file, a public record error, inaccurate collection amounts, inaccurate employment report, and identity theft.
Credit reporting agencies have a duty to report items on your credit report with maximum possible accuracy. If any credit reporting agency is reporting anything on your credit file inaccurately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act provides for a method of disputing these errors.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides that upon receipt of a credit report dispute from a consumer, the agency must conduct a reasonable investigation into your dispute. The Act provides that the agency must:
- Conduct a reasonable investigation into your claims
- As part of the investigation, notify the creditor of your dispute
- Provide the creditor any relevant information that you provided the credit reporting agency as part of your dispute
- Report back the results of the investigation to you within 30 days of their receipt of your dispute. (if you provide them additional information within that 30 day period, the credit reporting agencies are entitled to an extra 15 days to conduct the investigation
- Remove and delete any inaccurate information or information that cannot be verified.
- Also, the credit reporting agencies must provide a notice that, if you request a description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of your credit report, it shall be provided to you, and include the business name and address of any furnisher of information contacted as part of the investigation and the telephone number of such furnisher, if reasonably available
- And – They must provide a notice that you have the right to add a statement to your file disputing the accuracy or completeness of the information.
If a credit reporting agency fails to take these steps to repair your credit, and fails to conduct a reasonable investigation and remove the inaccurate information from your credit file after a credit report dispute.
How to Dispute your Credit Report
Providing a proper dispute of your credit report is important to assure that a proper investigation is performed. The better your dispute, the better your consumer rights are protected. Your dispute should:
- Always be in writing, not on-line
- Clearly identify who you are – not just by name. Include address, previous address, and social security number
- State clearly what the dispute is (i.e. the account does not belong to you but another family member, the account was a result of identity theft, the account was paid in full, etc.)
- Provide any documents that support your claim
- oIf its identity theft, obtain a police report and complete an FTC affifavit
- oIf you are claiming the pay history is reported incorrectly, then provide proof of payment for the disputed time period.
- oIf you have a letter from the creditor, enclose it.
- Do not ramble. You don’t need to write a whole story. Identify what is incorrect clearly and concisely.
If you have an error or inaccurate information on your credit report, there are actions that you can take. Do not allow them to stay on your report causing further harm your good credit and make sure you are aware of your rights. Please do not hesitate to contact Steburg Law Firm, P.C. for a case review today.