Whether its a call without a voicemail or a simple letter... even carrier pigeon. The first communication you receive from a debt collector triggers rights you can exercise.
Generally, collection efforts begin with a call followed by a collection letter five (5) days later. If property drafted, the first collection letter states the nature of the debt, and informs you of the Thirty (30) Day Debt Validation period. (15 U.S. Code § 1692g).
The validation period gives you the right to dispute a debt within 30 days of receipt. Many times the debt can be invalidated due to clerical errors or direct payments to the original debt holder.
The FDCPA and Federal Case law are VERY CLEAR as to the terms collection agencies can place in these letters. This means that any additional terms prompting intimidate payment are ILLEGAL! That's right, and its called overshadowing. This is because you are still within the validation period. The collectors are really not aware IF the debt is yours and as such CANNOT demand payment! Demanding payment during this time is illegal! Especially if you have stated you are disputing the debt.
This also goes for collection calls in the FIRST 30 DAYS after receipt of your first collection letters. So while collectors CAN CALL you they cannot demand payment within the first 30 Days of the validation period if you are disputing the debt. This is called overshadowing and can get you up to $1,000.00 in statutory damages!
Driven by greed and disregard for the law; collection agencies regularly violate this area of the law. They will not listen to your dispute of the debt. They hate waiting to collect money. This is one of the most over looked and violated areas of the FDCPA.
In collections? Be on the lookout for overshadowing:
Does the collection letter demand payment and also request validation of the debt?
Does the collection letter have exclamation marks! Prompting payment?
Does the collection letter disclose the debt or account number on the envelope?
Is the collection letter not addressed to you? Opened and disclosed to a friend? family member?
Did you not receive a collection letter five (5) days after the first collection call?
Were you prompted to pay within the validation period (During the first 30 Days after the first call or letter)?
If you are subject to collection calls, and believe your consumer rights have been violated call us TODAY for a FREE CONSULTATION: (706) 431-7297
We can get you up to $1,000.00 in damages per the FDCPA at no cost to you!