You know your creditors: those nice folks who gave you something you wanted -- goods, services, or money -- in exchange for your promise to pay them back at a later date. But those same nice folks can turn nasty when you can’t or won’t pay back your debts, hiring collection agencies to hound you every chance they get. So, in these unfriendly economic times, what can you do when your creditors come calling? Can you keep bill collectors at bay? How should you conquer your collection fears and fight back?
Believe it or not, laws do exist at both the state and federal level to protect average Americans like you and me from harassing debt collectors. That’s right: between the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, many of the actions that debt collectors take for creditors are strictly prohibited.
No one knows that better than Craig Cunningham. As the Dallas Observer reported, the Texas resident understand exactly how to get creditors off his back. Craig sues them.
According to the Dallas Observer, “While most Americans with unpaid bills dread the collector's call, Cunningham sees them as lucrative opportunities. Many collection and credit card companies, intentionally or not, violate little-known consumer rights laws, and Cunningham's favorite pastime is catching them doing so and then suing them. In fact, it's a profitable side job.”
After amassing over $100,000 in debt and becoming the target of creditor calls, this so-called “man with a plan” hired a lawyer from whom he learned the ins and outs of consumer rights. Using this knowledge, he taped creditor calls and saved their repeated and aggressive correspondence as evidence for eventual lawsuits against these same various debt collectors found to be violating national or state consumer protection law. From there, several court settlements followed providing Cunningham with a boon for his new “business.”
“Most collection agencies, it seems, prefer out-of-court settlements (which often involve a statutory fine) to taking a case to trial, since settlements save them money. The Observer notes that Cunningham has thus far earned $20,000 from suits against law-breaking collectors.”
Cunningham’s “collection baiting” turns their aggressive attempts to retrieve creditor’s money into a “financial liability” by hiding behind consumer rights and protections laws. These laws prohibit creditors from performing what might, in this economy, seem normal behaviors, including:
- Calling you repeatedly with intent to annoy or harass;
- Calling you outside of certain morning and evening hours;
- Contacting you directly when you have indicated that you have legal representation;
- Contacting you using certain types of media; and
- Lying about their ability to take legal action against you to collect on a debt.
While many consumers are unaware of their rights against these types of creditors, as in all cases, knowledge is power. For information about your consumer protections, learn more about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF).
And if you’re facing creditors, don't forget that bankruptcy can be the most reliable way--to avoid the creditor crunch.
In fact, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.