Unfair Debt Collection
So you owe money on a loan contract you signed for a vehicle or other consumer item and the debt collectors are calling you. There are legal limits to how and how much you can be harassed. If the company threatens to file criminal charges against you, lie to you, or use abusive language, you may have a case for unfair debt collection and you should seek legal advice. There are also limitations on what debt collectors may say when contacting third parties including your boss, and personal references that you provided when you obtained the loan and the time of day that calls are made. If the lender or creditor brings a lawsuit against you, you need to seek legal advice immediately. Our firm does not charge for a consultation and when we accept a case, we recover our fees based on fee shifting statutes, meaning that we must get our fees from the defendants in the case. We will never send you a bill.
Debt collectors may offer to negotiate a lower amount of debt in order to get a payment out of you. Be careful that you get such offers in writing and that you confirm that the debt collector actually represents the lender or the entity that purchased the credit. Debt collectors are often third parties and may represent an entity that purchased the debt from the lender. They may have no right to collect payment from you at all, or not in the amount they claim that you owe. You want to be sure that you actually owe the money. You may have cosigned on a loan, but you were never notified of a default or the vehicle repossession notification didn’t comply with California law. If it has been a long time since the default on the contract the debt may no longer be valid. If you make a payment, that could revive the debt or eliminate a defense you might have in court.
If the debt collection attempts are based on a deficiency balance that a financial institution assessed against you after repossessing and selling your vehicle, you may not owe the money at all. Please see our page on Repossession for more information.
Finally, it is important to keep all documents and correspondence that you receive regarding the debt. Take the matter seriously and get advice. These matters don’t just go away. An unpaid debt could lead to a judgment and a garnishment on your wages and adverse reports on your credit.
To learn more about Unfair Debt Collection, visit our "Frequently Asked Questions" page.