Fast Answers to Your Most Pressing Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Questions
Can a collection company call multiple times per day? Can a creditor really increase your interest rate if you cannot pay your bills? If you have a question about debt collection, credit reporting, or any other issues related to consumer law, our FAQ section might provide the answer you need right now. If it doesn't, contact us using the contact form or the toll-free number and we'll answer it for you within 24 hours!
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When and where can a debt collector call me?
Phone calls that interrupt dinner are annoying, but calls that wake you up early in the morning or late at night are downright infuriating. When that call comes from someone trying to collect on a debt, it’s even worse. Debt collectors rely on telephone calls to reach consumers because they are hoping to persuade, trick, or bully them into paying a debt they may or may not owe. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from disruptive or abusive phone calls.
What Debt Collection Calls Are Off Limits?
You can’t exercise rights you don’t know about, so it’s important that you know when and where debt collectors are barred from calling you. Here’s an overview:
- Debt collectors cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They can still send emails or text messages at any time, however.
- Once you tell them not to, debt collectors cannot call you at work. Many workers are not allowed to take personal calls at work, or just don’t have the time to deal with a call while they are working. Once you ask the collector to stop calling you at work, they must comply.
- Repeated or continual calls, even between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., are not allowed. Debt collectors cannot keep calling you over the same issue. If you have disputed the debt in writing, they must stop calling you altogether.
- Telling your friends, family, or coworkers about the debt is forbidden. A debt collector may call others in an attempt to locate you, but may not reveal information about the debt to them.
If a debt collector violates any of these calling rules, not only can he be stopped, but he may also owe you damages. For some of our clients, this means not only is the collector held accountable for breaking the law, but their debt is wiped out!
Are You Being Harassed By A Debt Collector?
If a debt collector is harassing you, our experienced consumer financial protection attorneys can make it stop. It doesn’t matter if you really do owe the debt, you are still protected from harassment! Contact me online or call me directly at 415.802.0137 to put a stop to the abuse today!
Do I have a right to see what is on my credit report?
I can answer this question in one word: ABSOLUTELY!
The information on your credit report is about YOU, so you definitely have the right to know what’s there. Why should you care what some random report says about you? Well, for one thing, the information on there could be wrong. For another thing, whether you get approved for a loan, an apartment lease, or even a job, what you pay in rent and interest rates could depend on what that report says—so you better know what’s on there! Let’s back up and get to the basics.
What Is a Credit Report?
A credit report is a detailed report of a person’s credit history. Actually, you don’t have a single credit report—you have three—one with each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs)—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax (yes, THAT Equifax). While the reports should theoretically be the same if all the information they have is accurate, a mistake can appear on any one of the three, so you should check each one every year.
How Do I Check My Credit Report?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to a FREE credit report from each of the CRAs every 12 months. Now, there are companies who will be happy to sell you a report, or claim they are giving you a free report, but then charge you an annual fee. Avoid these companies like the plague! The only authorized place to request your free credit report is this website: www.annualcreditrepor.com.
You will have to provide your name, address, Social Security Number, and date of birth to get your free report. I suggest getting a report from one of the CRAs every four months. That way, you are checking each report once a year—which I also highly recommend—but you will also catch anything really terrible that might have happened—like identity theft—sooner rather than waiting a whole year. Having said that, you are also entitled to a free report at any time if any of the following has happened:
- A person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report
- You are the victim of identity theft and are placing a fraud alert in your file
- Your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud
- You are on public assistance
- You are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days
What Are You Looking For In Your Credit Report?
When you get your report, look at every entry. If anything looks wrong—there’s a credit card listed that you don’t have or a debt you already paid off—you can dispute it with the CRA and they are required by law to investigate. In most cases, they have 30 days to correct or delete the information. If they don’t, you may be able to sue them for damages. That’s where I come in.
When to Call An Experienced Consumer Financial Protection Attorney
If you are having trouble getting your credit report corrected, contact me to see if I can help. I will take a look at your situation and if it looks like you have cause to sue, I will help you take the necessary action. But don’t wait too long—check those reports and call me if there’s a problem!
What can I do if a debt collector is harassing me?
You do not have to put up with annoying calls from debt collectors. In fact, if a debt collector is harassing you, he is breaking the law and you can do more than stop him—you can sue him for damages. How do you know when a debt collector has crossed the line? What can you do about it? Read on!
What Is Debt Collection Harassment?
I’ve explained debt harassment in more detail in other articles on our website, but as a quick reminder, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from calling you repeatedly, annoying and verbally abusing you, threatening you, and using obscene language, among other things. Basically, if the calls are bothering you, it is probably harassment and you do not have to take it.
So, What Can You Do About Debt Collectors Contacting You?
The very first time a debt collector calls you, record the call if possible. At the very least, make a note of who called, the date and time of the call, what was said, and what they claim you owe. After this first call, use our free Collection Blocker letter to stop them from calling you again. They can contact you one more time to inform you of their next move, but if they call you after that, call me! I will tell you now what I will tell you when you call—keep track of every call you get and every letter they send. This will be evidence in your lawsuit against them.
You Do Not Deserve to Be Treated This Way
It does not matter if you actually owe the debt you are being harassed about—you still don’t deserve to be mistreated. In fact, if the abuse continues and you save the evidence, you can sue for damages and eliminate your debt! Even if it is not your debt and the calls are meant for someone else, you can still sue! Hard to believe? Maybe, but it's worth contacting me to find out if you have a claim. Get a free case evaluation now. If I take your case, you pay me no money up front and I will not get paid unless you get paid. You have nothing to lose!
What should I do if I find an error on my credit report?
Wise consumers take advantage of their annual free credit reports to review the information they contain. Because loan approval, insurance rates, and job applications can depend on a clean credit report, it is important that you know what’s on your report each year and take steps to remove any inaccurate information. We explain how to do that here.
What Information Is on Your Credit Report?
Your credit report contains important and sensitive information, including your address, whether you pay your bills on time, whether you have been sued or arrested, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy. It also lists credit accounts you have—both active and closed. Often the first indication you have that your identity has been stolen is seeing unfamiliar information on your credit report. If someone has opened a credit card account in your name, it will appear on your credit report. If you find that your report has incorrect or unfamiliar information on it, you should take steps to correct it.
How to Correct a Credit Report
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you should take the following steps when you find false information on a credit report:
- Send a letter to the credit reporting agency (CRA) telling them what information is incorrect. Send copies of any documents that support your claim. The CRA must investigate your claim within 30 days and inform you of their decision when the investigation is complete.
- Inform the furnisher of the information to the CRA that the information is false. CRAs do not create the information on your report. Instead, they receive information about you from credit card companies, insurance agencies, individuals, and law enforcement. If one of these entities has provided false information, they should be informed.
What details does a debt collector have to provide about my debt?
You know you have fallen behind on paying some bills, but that does not mean you actually owe the debt a collector has contacted you about. And even if you do, there are federal and state laws governing when and how often the debt collector can call, what he can say to you, and what information he must provide to you about the debt. Because so many people are not aware of their rights when it comes to debt collection, creditors and debt collectors often engage in abusive and harassing behavior when contacting people about debts.
What a Debt Collector Must Tell You
When a debt collector calls, he will likely tell you that you have a debt that his agency has purchased and that you now owe his company the money. He may try to get you to pay over the phone to settle the matter quickly. However, he is required by law to provide you with certain details about the debt in writing within five days of the first contact. This is called a debt validation notice and must include the name of the original creditor, the amount owed, and information about how to proceed if you do not think you owe the money. If the debt collector cannot provide this information, you may have cause to dismiss the debt and recover damages for harassment.
Why You Should Always Ask For Debt Verification
Even if you think the debt is legitimate, you should request verification for the following reasons:
- To verify that the debt is actually yours
- To make sure the person calling you is authorized to collect the debt
- To confirm you have not already paid
- To force the debt collector to prove that he has the original documents
You are within your rights to request debt verification, but you must do so in writing. You do this by sending the debt collector a letter in which you dispute all or part of the debt and request the name of the original creditor. Our experienced consumer protection attorneys can help in the writing of your debt validation letter. Contact us online or call us directly at 855.982.2400. We are happy to help people protect their rights under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
I've got collection calls coming in for someone that's NOT ME - how do I make them STOP?
Federal Debt Collection laws protect you - whether you owe a debt, OR NOT!
It's true - it's like one of those weird nature facts like "Wild dolphins call each other by name." Wow. I can see that once you mention it.
You can make these stop completely (and perhaps get paid) in these: Three Easy Steps
My credit report dispute was denied - now what?
It's not over. There are more steps you can take to correct your credit report.
You May Be Entitled To Sue For Correction Of Your Credit Report And For Compensation!
Let me tell you why and how.
First, don't feel bummed out about it. In my experience, about 50% of all legitimate credit reporting disputes are denied. Why? It's usually because:
The dispute wasn't appropriately worded and documented.
The credit burueas didn't do the investigation that they're supposed to do.
Here's A Checklist Of What To Do Next If Your Credit Dispute Is Denied
1. If you didn't dispute the errors by mail you need to do that immediately. Also be sure to include copies of all supporting documentation.*
2. Next, if your dispute from #1 above gets denied, request a Free Case Evaluation to see if you're entitled to sue in court for correction of your report and possibly for compensation.
I practice exactly this type of law and, in virtually all of these cases, will represent you for no-money down (sometimes a client pays for costs).
Should I Pay a Credit Repair Company?
Here are some secrets you need to know before you put your faith in a credit repair company.
Credit Repair Companies Have A Financial Incentive To Keep You On Their Plan.
These companies often charge an up-front "set up" fee followed by a monthly fee that can range anywhere from $90 to over $300. Since they essentially get paid for making an effort every month - and not by the results they get you - their incentive is to keep "trying" for as many months as possible. This is known in the business as doing multiple "rounds" of disputing.
Credit Repair Companies Often Send Blanket Generic Disputes To Prove Their Worth.
These companies like to send basic disputes regarding anything remotely negative found on your credit report in hopes that something is bound to stick. Most of the time, it doesnt. At worst, your disputes get classified as "frivolous" by the credit bureaus and they stop paying attention to your legitimate complaints!
Correcting Legitimate Errors On Your Credit Report Gets Overlooked By The Frivolous Disputes Filed By Your Credit Repair Company.
And once your dispute is classified as frivolous, it's much harder to get a credit bureau to pay attention to your legitmate complaint.
There Is An Alternative To Using A Credit Repair Company.
Get help with your legitimate credit reporting errors for free from a proven attorney who has designed a process that not only creates disputes most likely to get your error corrected or deleted, it sets up what could become a great legal case against the credit bureaus should they fail to do the right thing!
Feel free to contact me online or call me directly at 415.802.0137 for a free consultation.
How Do I Improve My Credit Score After Bankruptcy?
Do everything your Bankruptcy Attorney recommends PLUS this one "secret" thing:
Ok, it's not really a secret but it is the most overlooked method of improving your credit score after a bankruptcy discharge...
Review Your Credit Report For Errors.
That's right, your former creditors, lenders, and debt collectors are NOT updating your Credit Reports after your Bankruptcy. Really! There are credit reporting errors in as many as 50% of the post-bankruptcy discharge Credit Reports that are HURTING you, the consumer! Sounds crazy, but it's true.
For more information on how this happens, check out this video.
How do I fix a billing error that won't seem to go away?!
Step 1: Put it down in writing with proof, 2: Send in a copy by FAX or mail, 3: If it's not totally fixed WITHIN 15 DAYS, you send that proof to me for a free case evaluation.
Here in California, Billing "Errors" (or whatever the company who is torturing you wants to call it) may subject that company to legal liability and entitle you to compensation if you can prove that you gave them notice (that's why you write it down and include the proof) and they don't fix it within 15 days.