What is a Consumer Debt Advocate?
written by Attorney M.Harvey Rephen
The definition of a comsumer advocate is a person, or group, who seeks to educate consumers, protect their safety, and expose unfair practices. What a consumer debt advocate does is help consumers protect themselves from abusive and unethical debt collectors or debt collection law firms. The FDCPA, which stands for the ‘Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’, is the primary tool used in remedying abusive and unfair debt collection practices. It also protects consumers against unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices.
Have I received abusive, harassing, or threatening phone calls?
Am I receiving collection letters that are misleading or confusing?
Have my friends or employers received phone calls or letters about your debt?
Is a debt collector reporting false information to a credit reporting agency?
Are debt collectors harassing me at work?
Has a debt collector threatened me with a law suit?
Have I received a call where the person does not identify himself as a debt collector, does not give his name nor the name of the agency he represents, and requests to speak to the exact person that he is attempting to reach?
Do I get calls more than once a day where there is no message left?
Are debt collectors calling me before 8am and after 9pm?
Are debt collectors calling my cell phone?
Have I been lied to by a debt collector concerning your debt?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these above questions, then your rights have been violated! If your rights have been violated by a debt collection agency or a debt collection law firm, they may be paying you! You may be entitled to as much as a $1,000 statutory award per violation plus any actual damages that you have suffered. The FDCPA also entitles a successful plaintiff in a law suit to ask for attorney’s fees from the debt collection agency/ debt collection law firm. This would result in having the debt collect pay for your attorney fees.
Here are just some examples on how to protect yourself:
Tape record every conversation.
Collect 3rd party disclosure documentation.
Save all physical evidence; for example, all the letters and envelopes that you receive.
Check your credit reports on a regular basis for errors.
Keep a detailed copy of your telephone bills.
Write a letter and tell the debt collect to stop calling and or contacting you.
Get an attorney to protect and defend your rights.
The most important thing is to remember is that you have rights and there people out there to help you protect those rights.
No one has the right to take away your peace of mind.