A Text Twist on Debt Collection

Yet another text message. Who’s this one from? Seriously? A debt collector?

Getting texts from debt collectors might be annoying, but it’s not illegal. What is illegal is an incomplete disclosure and a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls. 

In fact, the FTC recently settled its first case against a debt collector who used text messages to contact consumers. According to the FTC, National Attorney Collection Services broke the rules — in more ways than one. They pretended to be lawyers (check out the company’s name), never mentioning they were debt collectors. The company also falsely threatened to sue consumers, Envelope Imageand sent letters in envelopes showing a person literally being “shaken down” for money.

Yes… something’s wrong with that picture. There’s a reason collectors can’t include such illustrations — they aren’t allowed to expose someone’s private debt. Doing so could jeopardize that person’s job or reputation.

You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. If you believe a collector has violated your rights, we want to hear about it.

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

You cannot tell this story unless you also tell consumers that DEBT COLLECTORS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO USE AUTOMATED DIALERS ON THE CONSUMER'S CELL PHONE WITHOUT PRIOR EXPRESS CONSENT GIVEN BY THE CONSUMER. 47 USC 227 (TCPA). The mere fact that they have the consumer cell phone number does not mean they have a right to use automatic dialing machine to send text messages. Virtually all the collectors use equipment has the capacity to store and dial telephone numbers either randomly or sequentially. This makes them autodialers. Please correct and clarify your story so that consumers aren't misled into believing that they have to put up with automated dialing, whether by live conversation or text messages, on their cell phones.

hOW DO WE KNOW WHO IS LEGITIMENT?

Very useful information ....tks

I received many phone calls with different numbers from my payday loan. One time I answer them by telling them I could not pay as of now because I am unemployed. I loan through the payday loan over the computer. I have a record when it is deducted from my bank account thru computer every 15 days. Now I change my account number and they could cannot collect anymore. Now my balance is only more or less 300$ but they said my balance more 800$ including interest and penalty and as of now I do not know how much my balance. I have no job right now. It is almost a year now since I stop paying. I understand that they have no office in Maryland, that's why they do business in the computer. They still calling me but I will not answer. They call in my cellphone and in my home phone using different numbers. Please give some advice;
miry8350

Hi miry8350,

You might find some helpful information in the FTC's Coping with Debt article.

 

 

Unfortunately these calls are blocked from caller ID and even if asked for their address, ID, name etc, they refuse to give any info yet they demand and threaten to try to get info about the person who owes debt. There's no way to report them for their illegal actions.

Recently, a debt collector called my sister regarding her friend's debt. Her friend was out of country during that time. The collector was very polite and cordial. He narrated how her friend has not paid any money on a credit card for 7 months. He even talked about the interest rates and fees. Will this be considered as a violation of FDCPA laws? My sister's friend also happens to be her roommate.

Debt collectors can only contact other people in order to get contact information for you. Generally, they aren't allowed to discuss your debt with anyone other than your attorney or spouse.

Your sister can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and with her local consumer protection agency.

Thanks Nicole. I'll surely ask my sister to file a complaint with the FTC.

I have an identity thief (fraud) debt for Verizon landlines that started in my name. It took from April to October for Verizon to deal with this and get it off my credit reports and my great FICO score was restored. But I am on to my 5th or 6th collection agency a year later the debt keeps getting resold on the market (zombie debt). I am not sure what to do except a lawyer which I can not afford. There seems to be no end out of this cycle. We are off to the post office with another registered certified letter today ($6 charge).

As you’re experiencing, recovering from identity theft takes time and effort, but here are some tools to help you in this process. The FTC has sample forms and letters you can use as you repair the damages from ID theft, including a sample letter to help you dispute fraudulent charges and permanently stop calls and letters from a debt collector.

Also, you may want to file an identity theft complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint and note that your fake debt keeps getting resold.

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