Help dealing with debt collectors

Help dealing with debt collectors

Here’s a link to a fellow NACBA attorney’s recent publication that can help you deal with debt collectors. He is New York bankruptcy attorney Jay Fleischman.

The Consumer’s Guide To Ending Debt Collection Harassment

Jay’s mantra is that consumers have the right to be “treated fairly, courteously, and with respect by debt collectors.” If you’ve been on the receiving end of their calls you know that they usually don’t do any such thing.

Part of my practice involves helping consumers who are not necessarily filing bankruptcy fight debt collectors. I am happy to talk to you about harassment you’ve been dealing with.

Here are five important points from Jay’s work that I want you to know:

  • Don’t ignore papers you get from the court. If you’ve been sued, you can’t just stick your head in the sand and ignore the court, or your creditor will get a default judgment against you. This judgment will enable the creditor to attack your bank account, your wages, and your assets.
  • Don’t wait until the ‘last minute’ to get legal advice about what you should do. There is a whole spectrum of ways that you can potentially respond to the suit. Whether it’s simply disputing the debt, fighting the creditor in state court, or filing bankruptcy, you need to be advised sooner rather than later. I know how long you have to respond to the suit, and believe me, it helps me help you when you call me as soon as you know it’s time to act.
  • Don’t agree to pay anything before being advised by an attorney like me. Don’t give anyone your checking account number. Don’t agree to dip into savings. For heaven’s sake, don’t agree to tap your retirement account. It kills me when I meet clients who were shamed into handing over money by the goon squad.
  • Pay attention to who’s on the other end of the phone, time and date they call, and what they say they’re calling about. Is it consumer debt? When was the debt incurred? Is the caller the original creditor, or a debt buyer? I’ll ask you these questions when we speak. Within 5 days of the initial contact, the collector must send you written verification of the debt that includes details about the debt, the collector. This also starts the 30 day clock wherein if you don’t respond within 30 days of receiving the verification, the creditor may assume the debt is valid.
  • Don’t admit that you owe anything to the collector. This may lengthen the statute of limitations that the debt is collectible. Remember, Georgia gives creditors 6 years from the date of default to file suit.

See Jay’s piece for more information about what debt collectors can and can’t do.

Then call me, Attorney McDuffie at (404) 421 3706 to set up your consultation.