Archive | January, 2010

Fair Debt Collection under the FDCPA

We hear about unsavory collection agencies on a daily basis. They either make illegal threats, such as wage garnishment, pressing fraud charges or jail time, or, they harass you by calling you names like deadbeat, ignorant, loser and so forth.  Then, they contact your family and friends to try to get them to pay the debt for you, or, they contact your neighbors and employer with questions about the debt. 

All of the above actions are illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA for short) is a federal law that governs what a debt collector may do or say when it is attempting to collect a debt.

A debt collector may not threaten to take any action that is illegal, period. In the above examples, wage garnishment is a big one that we see quite often. To be clear, a debt collector may not garnish your wages in Pennsylvania for a credit card debt. There are no ifs, ands or buts to that statement. Therefore, if a debt collector makes such a threat, it is illegal and you may have a claim against them for their unfair practices.

Again, referring to the above examples, we hear of debt collectors who contact family, friends, employers and neighbors about outstanding debt. This type of activity is usually illegal, but not always.

To explain, generally, a debt collector may not speak with or contact anyone else about your debts. For the most part, an employer may never be contacted about a credit card debt. With regards to friends, family and neighbors, the same is true but with one general exception.

If a debt collector cannot find you, they may contact others to ascertain your location and contact information.  Again, they have this permission only if they cannot find you. They may not speak with others about the nature of their business, they may not tell anyone that you allegedly owe a debt.  Their sole purpose in contacting a friend, neighbor or family member can be only to locate you.  If the debt collector has a valid address and phone number for you, they have no reason or right to contact anyone else about your alleged debt.  Such an action would be illegal.

If one of the above examples should happen to you, please know that you have rights under the FDCPA. Our firm, specifically through my partner, Clay Morrow, can bring a claim against the debt collector for its illegal activities. Generally, you are entitled to a statutory damage amount $1000 AND you receive your reasonable attorney fees for prosecution of the claim. In that regard, we do not charge an up-front fee to pursue these claims on your behalf.

If a debt collector has threatened you, or discussed your alleged debt with someone else, please contact our office right away so that we can begin a claim for you.

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My New Partnership

As of January 1, 2010 I am pleased to announce that I have formed a new partnership with one of the best consumer attorneys in Pennsylvania, Clay Morrow.  Clay and I have been working together on cases for quite some time now and we decided that it was best to form a partnership that would better serve our clients.

Clay has been practicing consumer law in PA for over 20 years now and has seen just about everything that there is to see in that arena. Clay is a member of NACA, which is the National Association of Consumer Attorneys, and is quite active with that group.

Clay will handle all claims that are filed against debt collectors. These claims are often based upon illegal threats or activities that debt collectors engage in when they are trying to collect a debt from you. Clay bases most of these claims on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which provides consumers with an array of rights and protections. Clay is able to handle these claims on a no-cost basis, which means that you typically do not have to pay our firm a retainer to pursue an FDCPA claim against a debt collector.  Our firm will earn its fee and have it paid by the offending debt collector.

I will continue to handle the defense of collection agency and credit card lawsuits as I have in the past. What I have found in my experience in handling these matters is that there is often a violation of the FDCPA that is made either before the lawsuit is filed, or, in the lawsuit itself.

So in a nutshell, I will act as your shield in defending you, and Clay will act as your sword in attacking these violating debt collectors.

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Credit Card Lawsuits

If you are faced with a credit card lawsuit, whether its an original creditor or a junk debt buyer, contact my office at 412-823-8003 right away. We offer a free, no obligation review of any credit card based lawsuit that is filed in PA.

FDCPA Attorneys

Many Debt Collectors threaten people, that's a fact. Threats of wage garnishment, jail, fraud charges and contacting employers, friends and relatives happens every day to people just like you. The truth is that most of these threats are illegal. If a debt collector is threatening you, contact our office at 412-823-8003 for a free initial consultation.
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