The first thing you should do is contact an FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) lawyer who understands the laws that regulate St. Louis collection agencies. Because there is a decent chance that the debt collector is violating your rights, and if they are, the collector has to pay you $1,000 in damages. The other nice thing about the FDCPA is that you don’t have to pay any attorney fees to have the case brought to court (because the law states that if a collection has violated your rights under the FDCPA, they have to pick up the bill).
There are many examples of the ways in which a collection agency can violate your rights. If they make threat to you about a wage garnishment, or filing a lawsuit against you, or calling you names and saying derogatory statements. A violation can occur even if they threaten to report the debt to the credit bureau (especially if they have in fact already done so).
Another example would be “overshadowing”. This is when the collection agency attempts to collect on a debt within the first thirty (30) days of having taken it over from the original creditor (or a prior collection agency). This first thirty days is described as the “validation period”. The validation period is supposed to be a time during which you can request that the collector provide you with verification of the debt. This verification could be as simple as a print out of the amounts owed (or a breakdown of the debt). But the collector is not supposed to actually collect during this period time. So if they demand payment from you during the validation period, then chances are they have violated your rights.
The best way to understand these laws (and to determine whether or not the collector has violated your rights) is to contact us today. In addition, if you have other unsecured debts (like credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, etc), then it may be a good idea to look into a St. Louis bankruptcy. Our staff is ready to answer all of your questions, make sure you understand your full range of options, and that you are put on a path towards financial freedom.
We have two locations: in the Central West End of St. Louis, at 1 North Taylor (on the corner of Taylor and Laclede), 63108; and in the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67), 63019. The initial consultation is free of charge. So call today to learn more!!