Posts Tagged: ‘debt collection’

Rent-A-Center Accused of Kicking in Doors and Crushing Customers’ Credit

May 21, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Rent-A-Center has recently made headlines due to its unethical treatment of customers and harassing debt collection practices.  In fact, it has gotten so out of hand that the complaints and harassment lawsuits have grown in numbers.

Rent-A-Center customers throughout the U.S. are now complaining that Rent-A-Center has virtually destroyed their finances after they have leased electronics, appliances and furniture from the company.

Rent-A-Center is a Texas-based publicly-traded company. The company started in 1986, offering consumers a way to purchase electronics and other household items that they would not be able to afford otherwise. The customers rent these items, making payments on a monthly, semi-monthly or even weekly basis. At any time during the lease, the customer can terminate the lease and return the household goods, or they can keep making payments until they own the items in full. The company’s mission aims to help those in lower-income households by allowing them to purchase items they would not otherwise be able to afford.

Once a customer begins to fall behind on his or her payments, that is where issues arise. Just one missed payment, missed by something as small as a day, can trigger aggressive collection efforts.

One federal lawsuit, brought by a Florida resident, claimed that she was forced to hide in a closet with her two young sons while a Rent-A-Center employee pounded on her door to collect payment on her rented household items. Another lawsuit claims that a Rent-A-Center worker kicked in her front door after she fell behind on payments for her laptop computer.

Even debt collectors are complaining about the practices of Rent-A-Center. In 2014, the collection company, Acceptance Now, took on accounts from Rent-A-Center, but as soon as debt collectors began making efforts to collect on the accounts, customers continually informed the agents that their debts had already paid. The problem was Rent-A-Center’s records did not reflect these payments.

Many states allow rent-to-own companies, like Rent-A-Center to file criminal charges against customers who do not pay on their rental agreements and do not return items when asked to do so. The collectors are well aware of this information, and Rent-A-Center regularly uses these threats to scare customers into making payments. It can make customers feel trapped in a no-win situation, not only fearing for their safety against aggressive collectors but fearing jail time if they are not able to make payments.

Between January 2016 and June 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 2,779 complaints regarding both Rent-A-Center and Acceptance Now. Out of these complaints, 90 percent of them involve aggressive collection tactics, involving employees banging on customer’s houses and blasting car horns outside of homes.

Know your rights when it comes to creditor harassment. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to help prevent creditor abuse and harassment.

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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

What happens if I ignore a debt collector?

March 29, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are unable to make payments on a debt, you may be tempted to turn a blind eye until you are able to come up with the money. But this is one of the worst things you can do.  You always have the right to ignore a debt collector, but it will not make the debt go away.  Here are some possible scenarios that can occur if you ignore a debt collector:

They leave you alone.  You might think this is a good thing and perhaps the debt collector has forgotten about your debt.  But this is unfortunately not the case.

Your credit score suffers.  A past due debt will appear on your credit report regardless of whether you respond to debt collection attempts or not.

Your debt is transferred to another company. If the first collector is unable to reach you after repeated attempts, your account can wind up with a different agency.  This can happen a number of times if the balance remains unpaid.

The debt continues to grow. Just because you stop paying your debt, does not mean the interest stops growing.  Add on collection costs and this can cause the debt to double over time.

They reach out to people you know.  Debt collectors can reach out to people who know you to try and locate you, especially if you have changed your phone number or address to avoid collection attempts.  They are not allowed to tell them about your debt.  Revealing debt to third parties (i.e. – family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.) is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

A lawsuit is filed against you. Ignoring a debt and failing to communicate with a debt collector can result in you being sued. You can try your best to defend yourself, but if a judgment is entered against you it can result in wage garnishment and even funds being withdrawn from your bank account to pay off the debt.

Stress mounts.  The stress of debt can cause anxiety, sleepless nights, even marital problems. Avoiding debt collectors can leave you on the edge, wondering when the next phone call will be or collection letter will arrive in the mail.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are struggling with out of control credit card debt, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

‘Zombie’ Debt Collections Plague South Florida

March 28, 2018 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent study, invalid and illegal debt collections are at a record high in the Sunshine State.  The practice also referred to as ‘zombie debt collections’ is defined as attempts to collect debts not owed, those that were already paid or discharged in bankruptcy, debts owed by someone else, or are a result of identity theft. Typically, this debt collection practice is done by third-parties, who have collected these debts written off by the original creditor.

If you feel you have been a victim of zombie debt collection, first request that the debt collector provide you written documentation verifying the debt and check for any discrepancies. It is important that you respond to all court summonses to ensure that a debt collector does not win a court case by default.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission declared in a new report that Florida is the scam capital of the nation, with nearly 2.7 million consumer complaints made to the agency in 2017. The top categories included: debt collection, impostor scams, identity theft, phone and mobile, and banks and lenders.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are struggling with out of control credit card debt, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Just How Often Do Debt Collectors Harass People? The Answer Might Surprise You

October 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), debt collectors are required to stop calling once an official request has been made to cease communication. However, approximately 75 percent of consumers who have asked for debt collection calls to stop say that the calls kept coming.

The CFPB released a report earlier this year that surveyed over 10,800 consumers in 2014 and 2015 about their recent experiences with debt collectors. They received approximately 2,000 responses that revealed that over one in four consumers have felt threatened by the debt collector that most recently contacted them. Although debt collection agencies are not allowed to abuse or harass consumers, many collectors do not play by the rules. Approximately 40 percent of consumers surveyed said they asked a creditor or debt collector to stop contacting them, however; only one out of four people reported the collector actually stopped.

Debt collection is a $13.7 billion industry in the U.S. and the most frequent topic of complaint fielded by the CFPB. Approximately 70 million people have been contacted by a creditor attempting to collect on a debt in the past year, according to the CFPB.

The CFPB recently issued proposed rules that would strengthen consumer protections by limiting how often debt collectors can contact consumers. The rules would also require these companies to get the details right and offer an easy dispute process.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How Can I Verify Whether or Not a Debt Collector is Legitimate?

September 12, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Debt collection scams are becoming more difficult for Americans to detect. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers consumers a few ways to recognize a real debt collector from a scammer.

According to the CFPB, the first thing you should ask the caller is for their name, company name, street address, telephone number and professional licensing number. The next thing you should do is tell the caller is that you refuse to discuss any debt until you receive a “validation notice” in writing, which debt collectors are required to provide. An important thing to keep in mind is do not give out any personal or financial information to the caller until you have confirmed it is a legitimate debt collector.

Below are a few warning signs that could indicate a debt collection scam:

  • The caller threatens you with criminal charges. If the caller is a legitimate debt collector, they should not claim they will have you arrested.
  • The caller refuses to give you information about your debt. You have the right to ask a debt collector about the debt.
  • The caller is trying to collect a debt that you do not recognize. If you do not recognize the debt, this is a red flag, the caller might be involved in a scam.
  • The caller refuses to give you a mailing address or phone number for the company.
  • The caller asks you for sensitive personal financial information. Do not provide your financial or personal information unless you are certain the caller is legitimate.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.