Frequently Asked Questions
How much will a lawyer cost me?
Probably nothing if we are suing the violator for you.
Under both the Fair Credit Collection Practices Act, (“FDCPA”) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) it shouldn’t cost you anything. The FDCPA allows you to get your attorney fees from the other side when you win and the TCPA is handled on a contingency fee, that is, you don’t pay us unless we get you money damages. Otherwise we work for free. Obviously we wouldn’t stay in business long unless we could tell quickly if a case should be a winner or not. We will tell you up front whether or not we feel we can win for you. We won’t waste your time and our money on a doubtful case. It’s your decision.
What times of the day may a debt collector call me?
Collectors can only call you between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. you time zone, not theirs. Early morning and late night calls are violations under the act.
What about calling or texting my cell phone? I don’t know how they got my number. I never gave it to anyone or permission to call it.
This may be is a violation of both the FDCPA and the TCPA
- texting your cell without your consent or
- calling your cell without your consent using an robo-dialer or a prerecorded message
are both violations of the TCPA.
The TCPA may entitle you to statutory damages of between
$500 and $1500 per call. If this is happening to you:
CALL US IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS A SERIOUS VIOLATION.
If I don’t owe the debt can they keep harassing me?
No, they are in violation of the law. You should send a cease communication letter, Click to go to cease communication form letter. Be sure to send it certified mail. If they continue to call you after you get the green card proving they got the letter, call us. They can call you one more time to tell you they are stopping collection efforts or that they are going to sue you, but they rarely do.
Can they call my work?
Yes but only one time to verify your location information. If you tell them you aren’t allowed to get calls at work they must stop calling. They can’t discuss your debt with anyone beside you. Many clients tell us the collector calls their work repeatedly. If they call more than once or discuss the debt with anyone besides you they are in violation of the FDCPA.
Can they garnish my wages?
One collector told me that he was going to call my employer and have my wages garnished if I don’t pay. Before they do they have to do ALL of the following first:
- sue you,
- then win,
- then get an order from the court and
- finally have the sheriff serve your employer with the order.
It often takes several months before they can start taking money out of your paycheck. This can be fought but only if you go to court and fight them. IF YOU ARE SERVED WITH A LAWSUIT GET A LAWYER OR GO TO COURT YOURSELF. Otherwise you automatically lose.
Can they put me in jail?
No. You cannot be put in jail for owing a consumer debt. Period. A collector who threatens you with jail is violating the law under 1692e(4)
I got a summons to appear in court. I’m afraid if I go they’ll lock me up. Will they?
No, see prior answer.
A debt collector calls me 10 times a day. I asked him to stop but he said he’s going to call me repeatedly until I pay. Is that legal?
No. It violates 1692d(5) “engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass”. You should send a cease communication letter, Click to go to cease communication form letter. Be sure to send it certified mail. If they continue to call you after you get the green card proving they got the letter, call us.
Why would they tell me these things if they are not true? Isn’t that lying and illegal?
Yes, it is. While most debt collectors are law abiding professionals, occasionally a collector or collection company will violate the law routinely because they know most people don’t know what the law is and therefore will not respond. It has worked for them thousands of times and they will continue to do it. They also know that people, especially the elderly or unsophisticated can be bullied and scared into paying money even if they don’t owe it.
Let them know they can’t do that to you.
If a collector violates your rights under the law, call us.
I have to be at work on my court date. Can I just call and get it continued?
No if you try that you will lose the case. Most court clerks aren’t allowed to continue a case for you over the phone. YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP.
My friend, spouse, neighbor boyfriend, girlfriend, said they’ll go to court for me. Is that good enough?
Probably not. Don’t take a chance. Go yourself or have a lawyer go for you.