There is a Federal Law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law gives tremendous protection to people that are in debt. Many people think that they have to put up with phone calls, letters, and other harassing techniques from creditors. This is simply not true, especially if they have hired an attorney to represent them.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a very powerful Federal Law. The law says that a debt collector cannot do any of the following:
- Cannot use harassing techniques.
- Cannot call at inconvenient times.
- Cannot call you at work, if your employer does not permit such calls.
- Cannot make threats or mislead you.
Once you have hired a lawyer to represent you, all you have to do is tell the debt collector that you are represented by an attorney. If you are going to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, you can simply tell the debt collector that you have hired a lawyer to file your case. That statement by itself is enough to make the debt collector stop calling you or writing you letters.
If the debt collector continues to contact you after they know that you are represented by an attorney, that debt collector may be violating the Federal Law, and you might be able to file a lawsuit against the debt collector, and get $1000 for each violation by the law.
If you can, it is a good idea to record conversations with debt collectors when they are harassing you. Just telling the debt collector that you are recording the conversation, will normally stop the debt collector from saying anything inappropriate, and you will probably find that many times he/she will just hang up.
If you are retaining our office to represent you for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, I would suggest that you make a statement such as the following:
I call this the “Magic Words”
“I have hired a lawyer to represent me and I am filing a Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) Bankruptcy, My lawyer's is Seymour Wasserstrum. His address is 205 West Landis Avenue, Vineland, New Jersey 08360. His phone number is 856-696-8300.
If you have any questions, please do not call me anymore. Please call Mr. Wasserstrum. He told me there is a Federal Law that prevents you from calling me once I have given you this information. I know that I am protected by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Thank you”
You don't have to answer any questions about whether or not you have paid us any money. Even if you have not paid us, if you intend to hire us, you have our permission to make the above statement to the bill collector.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office. If someone is harassing you, don't be upset. Simply ask that person for his/her full name and phone number. We can help you take action against that person if your rights are being violated. We might be able to get you $1000 each time your rights are violated. Therefore, don't be afraid of debt collectors. Once you know what your rights are, you can be protected by the Federal Law.