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Prove a Creditor Is in Violation - Automatic win for $1000 Debt collectors are not given free reign to use

any methods they see fit in order to collect a debt. Quite to the contrary, collection agencies and attorneys (CA) are strictly governed by federal law, specifically the " air Debt Collection !ractices Act" ( DC!A). "he DC!A provides detailed descriptions of consumer rights. Additionally, there are many court cases establishing further interpretation and precedence of how consumers are protected. #nfortunately, abusive and illegal collection practices are still very common, and worse, most consumers have no idea of what their rights are or how to protect themselves and fight bac$ against what has become an unscrupulous industry. ollowing are e%planations of consumer rights as spelled out in the DC!A, also discussed is how CAs commonly violate these laws and supporting case law. "he topics covered in this section e%tend beyond &ust those rights you have regarding Debt 'alidation since there are many other important rights to protect regarding the collection process. "he purpose of the content in this section is to arm you with sufficient $nowledge so you are empowered to protect yourself and pursue(defend your rights in court if necessary. "he )nitial Communication rom a Debt Collector A debt collector must provide you with a written notice (letter) stating the five items listed below in the statute within * days of initially contacting you. DC!A +ection ,-.. 'alidation of debts /0* #+C 01.2g3 (a) 4ithin five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing5 the amount of the debt6 the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed6 a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector6 a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty7day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a &udgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or &udgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector6 and a statement that, upon the consumer8s written re9uest within the thirty7day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

)f written notice is not sent within this *7day period, then the debt collector is in violation of the DC!A. :enerally, this means that you should receive notice within , to 0- days, allowing for mail delivery time.

#pon receiving this notice, you then have ;- days to re9uest validation of the debt. "his is described in full detail in ""he Debt 'alidation !rocess". )neffective 'alidation <otice rom a Debt Collector "he written notice from a debt collector (sent within * days of initial communication) must have e%act wording from the statute as stated above6 )f the notice does not contain the wording from the statute, then it may be a violation of the DC!A and thereby giving you the opportunity to pursue the debt collector in court for a statutory award of =0---. An e%ample follows. )n the case of +mith v >ec$er, <o. Civ.A. -?7*,2-, 2--* 4@ ,.?,02 (A.D. !a. April 0,, 2--*), a debt collector (Attorney @aurence >ec$er) sent a debtor ("amara +mith) a letter notifying her that he was attempting to collect a debt she owed. )n the letter, >ec$er statedB "#<@A++ CD#, ">A CD<+#EAF, 4)">)< ">)F"C DAC+ A "AF FACA)!" D ">)+ <D")CA, D)+!#"A ">A 'A@)D)"C D ">A DAG", DF A<C !DF")D< ">AFAD , ">A DAG" 4)@@ GA A++A++AD 'A@)D." "he debtor (+mith) asserted that this letter was an ineffective validation notice thereby violating section 01.2g(a) of the DC!A because of the use of the phrase "will be assessed valid" instead of the statutory phrase "will be assumed to be valid" and the statutory phrase "by the debt collector" was omitted. "he debtor argued that the phrase "will be assessed valid" made the letter an ineffective validation notice because it could confuse the least sophisticated debtor and lead the debtor to believe that the debt will be determined valid by some entity of authority such as a court. "he debtor also argued that the omission of the phrase "by the debt collector" made the letter an ineffective validation notice because it similarly could confuse the least sophisticated debtor as to who or what entity will assess the debt. "he district court &udge, agreeing with the debtor, held "the phrase Hwill be assessed validH and the subse9uent omission of any reference to the entity that will be HassessingH the debt is li$ely to confuse or mislead the least sophisticated debtor into believing that her debt would be determined to be valid by an entity of authority. "he debt collection letter does not comply with section 01.2g(a), is deceptive, and, therefore, does not convey an effective validation notice." After Cou +end a Fe9uest for 'alidation of a Debt As described in ""he Debt 'alidation !rocess" the difficulty CAs often have in validating a disputed debt, may lead to a violation of the DC!A by the CA. After you send a re9uest for validation, the DC!A clearly states that unless they provide ade9uate verification of the debt, a collection agencyB Cannot ma$e any written attempts to collect the debt. +ee statute below6 /0* #+C 01.2g(b)3 Cannot contact you or your employer about the debt. +ee statute below6 /0* #+C 01.2c(a)(;)3 Cannot report the debt to the credit reporting agencies. ("his was established in the case of "wyla Goatley vs. Diem Corporation, <o. C)' -;7-I12 #nited +tates District Court for the District of AriJona, 2--?. "he courts ruled that reporting a collection

account is indeed considered collection activity). DC!A +ection K ,-.. 'alidation of debts /0* #+C 01.2g(b)3 (b) )f the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty7day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer re9uests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a &udgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or &udgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector...

DC!A +ection K ,-*. Communication in connection with debt collection /0* #+C 01.2c(a)(;)3 (a) CDEE#<)CA")D< 4)"> ">A CD<+#EAF :A<AFA@@C. 4ithout the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the e%press permission of a court of competent &urisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt5 (0) at any unusual time or place or a time or place $nown or which should be $nown to be inconvenient to the consumer. )n the absence of $nowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after , o8cloc$ antimeridian and before . o8cloc$ postmeridian, local time at the consumer8s location6 (2) if the debt collector $nows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has $nowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney8s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer6 or (;) at the consumer8s place of employment if the debt collector $nows or has reason to $now that the consumer8s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.

)f the CA ma$es any attempt to do any of the above, they are in violation of the DC!A. Leep any correspondence sent to you by the CA. Ea$e and $eep any record of who you tal$ to, including the time and date. ile a suit in small claims court and show the court that the CA has violated the DC!A. According to the DC!A the court must award you not less than =0,--- in statutory damages. "he court has the discretion to award more if greater damages are suffered by the consumer. +ee the section below "Civil @iabilities 7 >ow Euch Can ) 4inM". "he Fesponse Cou Eay Feceive After +ending a Debt 'alidation @etter +ometimes (rarely) sending a D' letter results in the CA suing you (sending you a

summons and complaint for &udgment)6 however, donHt worry as they are in violation of the DC!A and have &ust sealed their own fate. Cou will have to respond to their summons and appear in court6 however, you will have an absolute defense in court to deny them &udgment. Femember, it is the law firmHs burden to prove that you owe the money 77 <D" your burden to prove that you donHt. )n court, cite the caseB +pears v. Grennan )ndiana Court of Appeals, I?* <.A.2d ,12 <o. ?.A-27---;7C'7 01. "he appeals court determinedB "Grennan (debt collection attorney) violated 0* #.+.C. K 01.2g(b) when he obtained a default &udgment against +pears (debtor) after +pears had notified Grennan in writing that the debt was being disputed and before Grennan had mailed verification of the debt to +pears." )f the debt collector simply follows your instructions and never sends a summons, but ma$es another harassing phone call, they are in violation as well. Ea$e a record of the date, time, and who you tal$ed to6 ta$e the CA to small claims court and state this information to the &udge. "his proves the CAHs violation and you will win =0---. After a D' Fe9uest, CAHs Eay +end a +ummons or Nudgment Collection agencies tend to ma$e a habit of violating the DC!A. After sending a D' letter, a CA will commonly send you a summons for &udgment6 however, donHt worry as they are in violation of the DC!A and have &ust sealed their own fate. <ot only will you have an absolute defense in court to deny them &udgment, but you will have the opportunity to sue them. +how the &udge the summons letter and the court will see the CA has violated the DC!A and reward you =0---. Cite the caseB +pears vs. Grennan "he appeals court determinedB "Grennan (plaintiff collection agency attorney) violated 0* #.+.C. K 01.2g(b) when he obtained a default &udgment against +pears (defendant) after +pears had notified Grennan in writing that the debt was being disputed and before Grennan had mailed verification of the debt to +pears." CAHs can violate the DC!A in many other ways, ma$ing it very easy for you to win =0--- or more. +ee a list of e%amples and laws that enforce the DC!A. Civil @iabilities 7 >ow Euch Can ) 4inM "he DC!A provides for a private right of action against violators. "his means that you can get a lawyer and sue for damages. ollowing is an e%cerpt from the DC!A describing the amounts that can be awarded. DC!A +ection K ,0;. Civil liability /0* #+C 01.2$3

(a) A%cept as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this title with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount e9ual to the sum of5 (0) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure6 (2) (A) in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not e%ceeding =0,---6 or (G) in the case of a class action, (i) such amount for each named plaintiff as could be recovered under subparagraph (A), and (ii) such amount as the court may allow for all other class members, without regard to a minimum individual recovery, not to e%ceed the lesser of =*--,--- or 0 percent of the net worth of the debt collector6 and (;) in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action, together with a reasonable attorney8s fee as determined by the court. Dn a finding by the court that an action under this section was brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment, the court may award to the defendant attorney8s fees reasonable in relation to the wor$ e%pended and costs. (b) )n determining the amount of liability in any action under subsection (a), the court shall consider, among other relevant factors5 (0) in any individual action under subsection (a)(2)(A), the fre9uency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, and the e%tent to which such noncompliance was intentional6 or (2) in any class action under subsection (a)(2)(G), the fre9uency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, the resources of the debt collector, the number of persons adversely affected, and the e%tent to which the debt collector8s noncompliance was intentional.

)n laymenHs terms, the types of damages that are awardable areB +tatutory damages up to =0,--- for each case. "his means that the violator can be charged even though there are no other damages. AttorneyHs fees. Cou can ma$e the violator pay for your lawyer. "his is big advantage6 lawyers are e%pensiveO +tress related in&uriesB >eart attac$, angina, chest constrictions6 Eiscarriage6 #lcers, diabetic flare7up6 +hoc$6 @oss of appetite6 Crying6

<ightmares6 insomnia, night sweats6 Amotional paralysis6 )nability to thin$ or function at wor$6 >eadaches6 +hortness of breath6 An%iety, nervousness6 fear and worry6 >ypertension (elevation of blood pressure)6 +tress to children6 )rritability6 >ysteria6 Ambarrassment, humiliation6 )ndignation and pain and suffering. And this is &ust a partial listO Eonetary damagesB !ayment of a debt barred by the statute of limitations6 "a$ing oneHs property unlawfully or intimidating a debtor to return property by violating the DC!A, e.g. ")f you do not return your D'D player to the store, we will bring criminal chargesO" Cour attorney may use medical (psychiatric(psychological) testimony, but does not need to. Damages for emotional distress can be claimed even without medical support. "his does not mean they will always be believed, of course. )t is up to the &udge or &ury to decide if the plaintiff is telling the truth. Anyway, the plaintiff in the DC!A lawsuit starts with a tremendous advantage, proof7wise. "he Eini7Eiranda 4arning Aach time a debt collector contacts you, he must give you what is $now as a "Eini7 Eiranda 4arning" "his warning received that name because it is reminiscent of the warnings that police should give you if you are arrested, however, "Eini7Eiranda 4arnings" have nothing to do with criminal law. A "Eini7Eiranda 4arnings must contain the following words (or words imparting this meaning)B ">ello, ) am PPPPPPPPP(name of collector). ) am (or this office is) a debt collector representingPPPPPPPPPPPP(creditor). )nformation obtained during the course of this call will be used for the purpose of collecting the debt." )f the creditor has not been advising you as above, you may have a right to sue. @etters you receive in the mail from collectors also must contain similar warnings such asB ""his is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose. #nless within ;- days of your receipt of this notice, you notify us that you dispute the validity of this debt, it will be assumed to be correct. )f you notify this office within thirty days that you dispute the validity of the debt, we will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the &udgment. )f you re9uest it within ;- days, we will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor)." )f the letter does not state the above, or words similar or close to the above, you may also have a right of action. urthermore, did you $now that no bill collector or creditor has the right to contact any third person about your debt, e%cept to get information solely to locate youM "his means that if a bill collector or a creditor tells

any e%cept you that you owe them money, they too can be sued. <ow Clear Cour Credit Feport Gecause the CA is not allowed to verify any debt with a credit reporting agency until they have provided ade9uate proof to the consumer, you should send an a dispute letter, certified mail return receipt, to the three credit reporting agencies disputing the collection on your credit report. )f a CA does verify the account and does not delete it, they have violated the DC!A. "he CAHs have only ;- days to provide ade9uate verification to the consumer. )f they cannot provide such proof, they must remove the collection from your credit report.