Posts Tagged: ‘Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’

Supreme Court will not Expand Debt Collection Abuse Law in Santander Case

June 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to expand a federal law protecting consumers against harassment and threats in debt collection attempts.  The court unanimously upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a proposed consumer class action lawsuit against the auto-lender Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. over allegations it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The case came down to the definition of “creditor” and “debt collector” and whether a company that buys debt should be treated as a creditor, not subject to the the collections law.  The law applies only to companies that collect debts on behalf of others and does not apply to businesses like Santander who purchases the distressed debt from other companies after it defaults, the Supreme Court ruled.

The ruling was the first written by the court’s newest justice, Donald Trump-appointee Neil Gorsuch, who wrote that any changes to the law should come from the U.S. Congress, not the court.  The four Maryland residents who had defaulted on their car loans filed the proposed class action lawsuit in 2012 in federal court, accusing Santander of violations of the debt collection law including misrepresenting debt loads and bypassing the debtors’ lawyers.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/supreme-court-wont-widen-debt-collection-abuse-law-in-santander-case-2017-06-12

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-debt-idUSKBN1931NA

 

Supreme Court Supports Bids to Collect Expired Debts in Bankruptcy

May 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Voting 5-3, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that debt collectors can use bankruptcy proceedings as a means to collect old debts, where the statute of limitations has expired. The court ruled that this was not a violation of the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Consumer advocates accused debt collectors of violating the law by filing tens of thousands of outdated claims with bankruptcy courts in hopes that some debtors would not object.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined. “Professional debt collectors have built a business out of buying stale debt, filing claims in bankruptcy proceedings to collect it, and hoping that no one notices that the debt is too old to be enforced by the courts.  Debt collectors do not file these claims in good faith; they file them hoping and expecting that the bankruptcy system will fail,” Sotomayor wrote.  This practice is both “unfair” and “unconscionable,” she added.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

 

Medical Debt Collectors Accused of Using Aggressive Tactics to Collect

May 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund that reviews reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, medical debt collectors have been employing aggressive tactics to collect, even from the wrong consumers, putting their credit reports at risk.

The collection attempts range from repeated calls, calls harassing family and friends, threats of legal action, and abusive language- All a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), designed to prevent creditor harassment and abuse.

Here are some important tips to remember if you are struggling with medical debt:

Confirm you owe the debt.  Almost 90 percent of medical bills have costly errors, according to the Medical Billing Advocates of America and Medical Recovery Services.  Request a detailed, itemized statement of charges and medical services you received.

Speak up.  If you find errors in your medical records or billing, contact your doctor or the hospital billing department.  Negotiate payments. They may even give you the option to defer payments for a few months or to put you on an interest-free plan where you pay a small amount toward the bill each month.

Get help. Hospitals and insurance companies often have case workers who can help with bills and resolve payment issues.

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Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney 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.

What happens when credit card companies sell your debt?

April 25, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Barclaycard sold $1.6 billion of credit card balances in the first quarter of 2017 to the personal-loan company, Credit Shop Inc.  Oftentimes, the accounts that are sold are ones that the card issuer has determined to be too risky for its business or are already in delinquency.  In these type instances, a card issuer can sell the account balances for pennies on the dollars.

Here is what you need to know if your credit card company sells your debt.

The reasons card issuers buy and sell debt.  Some debts are more “reliable” than others.  For this reason, cardholders pay widely different interest rates, depending on how risky the lender judges them to be.  “Subprime” borrowers tend to pay substantially higher interest rates to make up for the possibility that they might not be able to pay back the debt.

How will you know if your debt has been sold?  In many you will only find out if your debt has been sold when you hear it from the new owner or a debt collector calls you and demands payment.

What if a debt collector calls? If you receive a call from a debt collector, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from abuse and harassment.  A debt collector is not allowed to call you excessively or make any threats.  They are also prohibited from calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and cannot misrepresent the amount you owe.  By law, you have the right to demand documented proof of the existence of the debt and the amount you reportedly owe. This request must be made in writing within 30 days of the first contact from a debt collector. During the time it takes to investigate and reply to your request, all calls from the debt collector must stop.

You also have the right to request that all future contact be made in writing. This can prevent disruptive and embarrassing calls at home or at work.  You have the right to sue if a debt collector violates any of these rules.

What responsibilities do credit card companies have? Under the federal CARD Act, which went into effect in 2010, credit card companies are required by law to give cardholders 21 days from the date the statement mails to make a payment.  Credit card companies are also required to provide a 45-day written notice before any rate increases. If you receive this notification, consider paying off the account if you are able to or transferring your balance to a low-interest credit card or zero-percent interest card, which overtime will be less costly to repay.

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 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-happens-when-credit-card-companies-sell-your-debt-cm776572

The IRS is Using Private Debt Collectors- Here’s what Consumers Need to Know

April 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The IRS has entered into contracts with four private debt collection agencies- Conserve, Pioneer, Performant and CBE Group.  These agencies will only take over accounts if several criteria are met:

  1. The tax debt has been removed from the IRS’s active inventory due to a lack of resources or an inability to find the taxpayer;
  2. More than one-third of the applicable limitation period has passed and no IRS employee has been assigned to collect the debt;
  3. The debt has been assigned for collection, but more than 365 days have passed without interaction with the taxpayer for purposes of furthering collection of the debt.

These collection agencies are required to abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  This means they cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; they cannot contact you at work if you have told them not to; they cannot falsely claim you have committed a crime; they cannot misrepresent the amount you owe or threaten you with harm or arrest for lack of payment.

Consumers need to be aware of tax scammers looking to capitalize on this new IRS protocol.  Tax scammers oftentimes ask their victims pay their alleged debts by purchasing prepaid cards and then call back with the cards’ codes. Another common scam involves having large amounts of money sent via wire transfer.

This will never be the case with the listed contracted debt collectors, according to the IRS.  In fact, taxpayers will not be asked to pay the private debt collectors anything. Instead, these collectors will provide information about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov/Pay.  Even written checks will need to be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection companies.

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 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.