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Texas Takes Stand Against Abusive Debt Collection Practices

Created: On December 11, 2008 @ 12:00 am In

It was recently reported that [1] Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General, reached a settlement with NCO Financial Systems Inc, a debt collection firm. They were accused of making harassing and threatening phone calls to debtors among other violations. The settlement requires that NCO Financial Systems Inc establish a restitution fund to compensate Texans harmed by their actions in addition to other fines and new monitoring requirements.

This settlement serves as a reminder that you have both state and federal rights ([2] Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) when it comes to how you are treated by debt collectors. If you working through the debt settlement process and are currently being pursued by a debt collector or collection agency, you should learn which laws are in place to protect you and what the debt collector may or may not do.In the case of the Texas [3] settlement, 25,000 randomly selected calls made by NCO Financial Systems Inc will be monitored throughout 2009 to ensure they are acting within the boundaries of Texas and Federal law.

The following represents a sample of what monitors will be looking for:

  • Calls begin with a statement that the phone call may be monitored or recorded
  • Information about a debt is not disclosed to anyone other than the debtor
  • NCO identifies itself as a debt collector on the call
  • No profanity is used or threats made
  • Debtors are not contacted at work if NCO has reason to believe such calls are not permitted by the debtor’s employer
  • No messages are left at a number other than the debtors home or business number after the initial contact has been made
  • No improper threats of legal action or wage garnishment are made
  • All written cease and desist requests are honored and enforced
  • Settlement offers accepted by the debtor are not reneged

You are not alone if you feel that your rights are being violated by a debt collector. In the Federal Trade Commission’s [4] 2008 Annual Report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it was reported that there were 70,951 complaints about third-party debt collectors violating the FDCPA in 2007. That represented 20.8% of all the complaints received by the FTC from consumers last year.

If you feel your rights have been violated, you should start by documenting your interaction with the debt collector. Make note of who you speak with, their contact information, when they called, what number they dialed, and what is said. Armed with that information, you should contact your state’s Attorney General and the FTC to file a complaint. You should also contact an Attorney that has experience with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act since you may be able to recover damages in addition to $1,000 per violation.

You do not need to accept abuse simply because you have fallen behind and are trying to raise enough money for debt settlement. Armed with an understanding of the laws designed to protect you and what to do if your rights are violated, you will be successful in putting an end to harassing debt collectors operating with no regard for the law.

About the Author:
Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the [5] National Credit Federation (NCF), a consumer advocacy group that assists small business owners and consumers overcome debt and credit challenges. He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, [6] GoodCreditLiving.com.

Article printed from DebtHelp.com Blog: http://www.debthelp.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.debthelp.com/blog/2008/12/11/texas-takes-stand-against-abusive-debt-collection-practices/

URLs in this post:
[1] Greg Abbott: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?id=2757
[2] Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf
[3] settlement: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2008/120408nco_avc.pdf
[4] 2008 Annual Report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/03/P084802fdcpareport.pdf
[5] National Credit Federation: http://www.nationalcreditlawyers.com
[6] GoodCreditLiving.com: http://www.goodcreditliving.com