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“What Do You Really Owe When a Debt Collector Calls?”

Know your rights if you are contacted by a debt collector.(March 6, 2012):  You receive a phone call in which a rude person on the other end starts demanding your name and information confirming you identity.  When you ask who the person is, you may get their first name and that they are a debt collector trying to collect a debt that you owe.  You are threatened with a lawsuit if you do not immediately agree to a payment plan.

Step back and take a deep breath.  Get the name and information from the caller. Debt collectors have to follow certain rules under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act.  In addition, many states may also have their own Debt Collection Act. You are entitled get the following information:

  1. A copy of any correspondence that has been sent to you regarding the alleged debt;
  2. Written proof of the alleged debt, age of the debt, amount of the debt and the name of the original creditor; and
  3. Proof of any assignment of the alleged debt from the original creditor to the debt collector.

It may be that while you incurred the debt, legally you do not owe the debt.  Every state has a “statute of limitations” which limits the amount of time the owner of a debt may file a lawsuit against you to collect.  For example, if the debt arose in Texas pursuant to a standard contract and it is more than 4 years old (starting from the date when the debt first became due), the owner of the debt can no longer collect the debt from you.  While your credit report will likely still reflect non-payment for up to 7 years, you do not have to pay the debt.  As always, if you get such a phone call or demand letter, consult with your attorney to determine your rights and obligations.

Healthcare Lawyer

Leonard Schneider and other Liles Parker attorneys have extensive experience in business litigation, contract review and drafting. Call 1 (800) 475-1906 today for a free consultation.

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