Debt Collectors

Debt collectors are regulated by numerous state and federal laws in their debt collection activities. That's where we can help. Most people know that debt collectors cannot abuse them on the phone or in writing--what many people don't know is that they have a lot of other legal rights, too.

For example, a debt collector cannot call you at work if they know that it is inconvenient for you or that your employer prohibits it. Debt collectors cannot tell others about your debts, like your next door neighbor or your co-worker. These are just a few of the numerous protections you have as a consumer. If a debt collector violates your rights, we can help.

As a consumer, you are afforded a lot of consumer protections against debt collectors, both state and federal. Our firm primarily works with consumers whose rights have been violated under the FDCPA and other consumer protection statutes.

As a consumer, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against any debt collector who violates your rights under the FDCPA. In short, the FDCPA allows a consumer to recover their actual damages, statutory damages of up to $1,000 and their attorney's fees and costs.

We firmly believe that everyone should pay their just and owing debts. But our country was founded on historic legal principles which rejected debtor's prisons and the like. Likewise, we think that no debt collector ought to violate your rights to get payment. It's that simple. Your legal right to fair, legal, debt collection activity cannot take a back seat to any debt collector's violations of state and federal law. Who is Covered: Some Definitions

Consumer. Any person who owes or is alleged to owe a consumer debt.

Debt Collectors. According to the FDCPA, a debt collector is any person, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others and includes attorneys who regularly collect debts.

Covered Debts. Any debt that is primarily for personal, family, or household purposes are covered under the FDCPA. Business and commercial debts are not covered. Alimony, child support, criminal fines, and tort claims are generally not considered debts within the meaning of the FDCPA.

How a Debt Collector Can Communicate With You

Communications Generally. A debt collector may communicate with you by mail, in person, by telephone or telegram. A debt collector cannot contact you at times or in places that they know are inconvenient to you, such as at work if your employer does not permit it or during daytime sleep hours if you work nights. A debt collector cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Stopping Communications. If you send a written request to a debt collector demanding that they stop contacting you, the debt collector must stop contact immediately, but they may send one last communication to you advising you that they intend to take a specific action against you including filing a lawsuit.

Attorney Representation. If you are represented by a debt collectors attorney concerning a consumer debt (e.g., a consumer rights attorney such as our Coxwell & Associates, a bankruptcy attorney, or a family attorney), the debt collector cannot communicate directly with you except through your lawyer.

Contacting Others. A debt collector cannot contact any third party about your debt. This means that they cannot call you sister-in-law, your grandson, or your neighbor about the debt. Debt collectors are not allowed to tell anyone but you and your attorney that you owe anyone else money.

Locating You. A debt collector has a right to contact other people once, and only once, in an effort to locate you. Debt collectors are not permitted to ask neighbors to bring you phone messages, ask you to come across the street for a phone call, or tell other people that they are attempting to collect a debt from you. Debt Validation

30-Day Validation Notice Requirements. Within five days after you are first contacted, a debt collector must send you a written notice telling you the following:

The amount of the debt.

  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed.
  • A statement that unless you, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion of it, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector.
  • A statement that if you notify the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against you and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
  • A statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
  • Finally, a statement that the communication is from a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

    Every debt collector who tries to collect your debt must provide their own 30-day validation notice, even if a previous debt collector has already given such notice.

  • Rights While Debt Under Dispute. If you dispute a debt in writing within the 30-day validation period, a debt collector cannot continue to collect on the debt until they have sent you proof of the debt or a copy of the judgment.

Contact our Jackson, MS debt collectors attorneys Coxwell & Associates, PPLC today for your confidential complimentary consultation.