What Should You Do When a Debt Collector Contacts You?
Experienced Charleston, WV attorneys advise clients hounded by creditors
Missed mortgage, loan or other installment payments may result in contact from a debt collector who was hired by the creditor to make you pay up. Debt collectors are known for their aggressive and sometimes harassing methods, but you don’t have to face them alone. Our West Virginia debt collection lawyers at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia take defensive actions to protect individuals from debt collectors’ oppressive or illegal conduct.
Knowledgeable attorneys explain scope of West Virginia debt collection laws
Debtors are entitled to certain rights under the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The laws address:
- Calling hours and etiquette — A debt collector or collection agency is only allowed to call your phone between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. It is illegal for the debt collector to use threatening or obscene language. You are not required to answer the phone or engage in conversation if a debt collector calls.
- Cease communications — A debt collector is required to stop calling you if you send written notice directing them to stop. Your letter should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested, so you have proof that the letter is delivered.
- Accuracy of communications — It is illegal for a debt collector to misrepresent the amount of money owed or to whom it is owed. In addition, a debt collector that uses a false business name violates the law. It is also illegal for the collector to give a false report to a credit agency about a debtor.
- Legal representation — Once you inform a debt collector that you are represented by a lawyer and you provide the lawyer’s information, the debt collector must direct all communications to your lawyer. The collector breaks the law if they call you after they receive notice of your legal representation.
When a debt collector violates the law, a West Virginia debt harassment lawyer can take them to court, seeking statutory damages for the debt collector’s violation. In some cases, it is possible to have the debt cancelled. The unlawful debt collector may also be charged with a crime.
Skilled Charleston advisors help clients respond to debt collector claims
Debt collectors have one goal: to get you to pay the money they claim you owe. A debt collector may behave as if they have a right to make demands of you, but they do not get to set the rules. To prevent privacy violations, do not provide the debt collector with any personal information or financial information. Do not admit that the debt belongs to you.
There are, however, certain actions you can take than may help your situation. You can ask the caller to provide information about the debt they claim you owe, such as the:
- Name of the creditor
- Amount of money owed
- Name of the debt collector
- Name of the collection agency that employs the collector
- Physical address and phone number of the agency
If any of the information provided by the caller sounds inaccurate, you can send a letter requesting written validation of the debt. You can also send a cease-communications letter or a letter informing the collector that the debt is illegitimate and that you refuse to pay. Our attorneys are available to assist you in dealing with debt collection communications.
Contact respected Charleston debt collection defense attorneys for a free initial consultation
The debt collection defense lawyers at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia are experienced with strategies for fighting oppressive or illegitimate debt collection actions. To schedule a free initial consultation with our team, call 888-819-1281 or contact us online.