Posts Tagged: ‘FDCPA’

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.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

What happens if a creditor tries to collect on a debt during my bankruptcy?

March 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

After you file for bankruptcy, creditors are not allowed to contact you regarding any debt you owe; they must deal only with your attorney.  The protections allotted by the bankruptcy automatic stay prohibit all collection activity, including legal action, wage garnishment, even contact by phone or mail in an attempt to collect on a debt.

There are a few exceptions. For example, the automatic stay does not stop criminal cases, some child support actions, and certain eviction cases. The automatic stay also does not apply to debts incurred after the bankruptcy case was filed. Here’s how to determine if a creditor violated the automatic stay and what you can do if a creditor continues trying to collect a debt.

The penalties for violating the automatic stay depend on the nature of the violation and whether it was done with deliberate disregard for the bankruptcy filing. You have several options if a creditor continues to pursue a debt in violation of the automatic stay.

Tell the creditor about your bankruptcy. Most debt collectors will stop contacting you if you tell them this.  Many times the debt collector is unaware of your case.  For example, if a collector garnishes your wages after the bankruptcy case is filed, it must immediately return the money.

Notify the bankruptcy court. If the collection attempts continue, the next step is to notify the bankruptcy court. The court can sanction the collector for violating its automatic stay order.

File a lawsuit. If a debt collector continues to try and collect on the debt, it may not only be violating the automatic stay but also other state and federal laws including, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws.  Recently, our firm’s motion was granted by a Florida judge in a case that held the creditor in contempt of court for violating the automatic stay in a Miami bankruptcy case. The Order directed the creditor to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of the court.  The creditor in this case was also required to pay attorneys’ fees for our firm having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay to protect our client.

If you are dealing with a creditor you think may have violated the automatic stay, contact your attorney immediately.  An experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney will know whether the contact was innocent in nature or a willful violation worth pursuing.

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.

Debt Collection Law Firms Must Follow FDCPA in Foreclosure Cases

March 7, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A federal judge has ruled that debt collection law firms are now subject to the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in mortgage foreclosure cases.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to help prevent creditor abuse and harassment.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a motion by law firm Phelan Hallinan Diamond & Jones seeking to dismiss plaintiffs Tina Collins and Glendale Walker’s FDCPA claim, which alleged the firm failed to cease all collection activity before verifying the debt after the plaintiffs first disputed it.

According to the judge’s opinion, the plaintiffs alleged that the foreclosure complaint and Phelan Hallinan’s response to their notice of dispute “contained false and misleading representations thru [sic] deceptive means in an attempt to collect a debt.’” In addition, Collins and Walker claimed that the firm threatened to proceed with the foreclosure action without first verifying the debt.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the firm falsely represented itself as counsel to Wells Fargo, leading Collins and Walker to believe that Phelan Hallinan was a part of Wells Fargo’s legal department.

“Foreclosure, although legal in nature, is ‘activity undertaken for the general purpose of inducing payment,’” Savage said. “A debt collector cannot avoid FDCPA liability simply by proceeding in rem rather than in personam. Therefore, for purposes of this action, Phelan was acting as a debt collector and engaged in debt collection activity when it communicated with the plaintiffs and filed the foreclosure action.”

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Legal Tips to Stop Creditor Harassment

February 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

People accumulate debt for all kinds of reasons, whether it’s going back to school, having a baby, or one of life’s unexpected emergencies.  Regardless of your circumstances, being in debt can be stressful- it can be made even worse by creditor harassment.

The first step is to try to address the issue before it becomes a problem.  Do not ignore the debt and hope it goes away.  It will not.  Tell the creditor you are unable to pay the bill.  You can attempt to settle the debt at a reduced amount or request to be placed on an affordable monthly payment plan.  If these options do not work, you can write a letter requesting that the collector stop contacting you all together.

Another option is to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation to discuss your financial situation in greater detail.  Bankruptcy automatically protects you from further collection activity and is an effective way to stop creditor’s from harassing you.

If you are struggling with debt, know your rights and what debt collectors can and cannot do.  The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to do the following:

  • Call you repeatedly
  • Contact your employer or neighbors about your debt (they may only contact them to locate you, but may not mention the debt)
  • Call you late at night or at unreasonable hours
  • Call you at work
  • Engage in deceptive conduct
  • Calling you without disclosing their identity
  • Use obscene, derogatory, or insulting remarks
  • Threaten arrest or loss of child custody or welfare benefits
  • Publish your name
  • Use any communication, language or symbols on envelopes or postcards that indicate that the sender is in the debt collection business
  • Threaten repossession without legal right or present intent to do so

If the collection agency has made any of these violations, you may be able to sue them for damages, your attorney fees, plus an additional $1,000.00.

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.

Related Resources:

https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/got-debt-stop-creditors-from-harassing-you-with-these-few-legal-tips