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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 5

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 5




This is Part 5 of a multi-part series.  Previously: Part 1 (identifying applicable Federal Law); Part 2 (allowable communications from FDCPA debt collectors); Part 3 (whether debt collectors can sue debtors/consumers); Part 4 (what information debt collectors must provide to the consumer).


How to Prevent Further Communications from Debt Collectors


1.  Is a verbal request by the debtor for all the calls to stop enough?


a)  No. A verbal request made by the debtor to the debt collector to "stop all calling" is not enough, although it might be enough to stop the calls       to the place of employment.


2. Is a written request to a debt collector to stop all the calls enough?


a) It should be, yes. A debtor who serves a written request/demand on a debt collector to cease all telephone communications should result in a   cessation of those phone calls.


b)  Unfortunately, some unethical debt collectors will not provide their name, address, or telephone number, thus making it difficult to file such  written requests with them.


3. Can a debtor stop the phone calls but allow written correspondence to be sent to his/her home?


a)  Legally, yes. A debtor can file the written demand to have all phone calls stop, but also state that written communications to the home address     are permissible.


4. Can a debtor demand that all communications, written and verbal, from the debt collector stop?


a) Yes, but even with such a demand, the debt collector can:


(1)  send written notice informing the debtor that the debt collection effort is stopping;

(2)  send written notice informing the debtor that other legal remedies will be pursued (such as a lawsuit being filed);

(3) send written notice informing the debtor that documents mailed from the debtor to the debt collector are considered "official" communications when received by the debt collector.

MR. MCGRATH PROVIDES ASSISTANCE AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS BASED ON APPLICABLE FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Americans: Who We Were, Who We Are, Who We Will Be: Part 1

Americans: Who We Were, Who We Are, Who We Will Be


This is the first in a series of blog posts concerning the make-up of America, largely based on Census data from 1999 - 2000 and 2009 - 2010.

Part 1: Who We Were as a Country in 2000 and How We Changed from 1990 - 2000


Thankfully we survived Y2K (remember that?), and the 2000 United States Census was completed.  Here is a quick summary of some of the more interesting information obtained via Census 2000 regarding our collective backgrounds, followed by a brief comment of mine on each issue. The question was posed this way on the Census 2000 form: "What is this person's ancestry or ethnic origin?"

Where do we come from/who do we "think" we are?


According to the responses we gave, we are from the following ethnic backgrounds, in order of most populous to least (top 10 only):

  1. German: 15.2%

  2. Irish: 10.8%

  3. African American: 8.8%

  4. English: 8.7%

  5. American: 7.2%

  6. Mexican: 6.5%

  7. Italian: 5.6%

  8. Polish: 3.2%

  9. French: 3.0%

  10. American Indian: 2.8%


A quick glance at the top 10 may cause you to realize that this "categorizing" exercise is somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent, or at least very subjective.  For example, if your parents were born in Nigeria, you'd be allowed to choose "African American" and/or "Nigerian"; if your parents were born in Mexico, you'd be allowed to choose "Hispanic" and/or "Latin American" and/or "Mexican"; if your parents were born in France, you'd be able to choose "European" or "Western European" or "French". It appears that most Americans of African descent are most likely to identify themselves under the general grouping of "African American" as opposed to specifying the particular African country of origin.  Of course, for some, such information is simply not available due to the circumstances of the ancestor's "delivery" to North America. By comparison, persons of Hispanic background were proportionately more likely to identify a specific country of ethnic origin (as opposed to the general category of "Hispanic" or "Latin American"), which is why "Hispanic" and "Latin American" did not appear in the top 10.

Which of these ethnic groups grew the most between 1990 and 2000, and which comparatively shrank?


The 10 categories with the most growth and the 5 with the largest relative decline are listed below (again, as identified by the group members themselves):

  1. Latin American +474.6%

  2. African: +381%

  3. European: +321.8%

  4. Brazilian: +174.9%

  5. Asian Indian: +171.7%

  6. European: +321.8%

  7. Western European: +195.5%

  8. Pakistani: +153.3%

  9. Northern European: +148%

  10. Albanian: +138.2



  • Slovak: -57.6%

  • Scandanavian: -37.4%

  • United States: -37.2

  • Croatian: -31.1%

  • German: -26.1%


So, this means that, for example, in 2000, 37.2% fewer persons in the USA who responded to the Census and provided "ancestry / ethnic origin" information described themselves as from the "United States" as compared to doing so in the 1990 Census. That 37.2% reflects an actual reduction of approximately 239,000 folks listing "United States".  Of course, it may very well be that many folks who listed "United States" in 1990 put "European" in 2000, "American" in 2000, "African American" in 2000, etc.  Also, the Census forms do change from time to time, so it's difficult to know as to what extent we are comparing apples to apples.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 4

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 4


This is Part 4 of a multi-part series.  Previously: Part 1 (identifying applicable Federal Law); Part 2 (allowable communications from FDCPA debt collectors); and Part 3 (whether debt collectors can sue debtors/consumers).

What Information Must a Debt Collector Provide to the Consumer?


1.  Unless it was included in the initial communication from the debt collector to the debtor, the following information must be provided in  writing to the debtor, unless the debtor pays the debt within 5 days of that initial communication:


a) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;

b) the amount of the debt;

c) that the debtor has thirty (30) days to dispute the debt, or else the debt is assumed to be valid;

d) if the debtor, in writing, disputes the validity of the debt, the debt collector will send the debtor a verification of the debt;

(1) it should be noted that, if the debtor so disputes the debt in writing,  debt collection efforts must stop until written verification of the debt has been provided to the debtor;


e) notice to the debtor that, if the debtor makes a written request for the name and address of the original creditor within the first 30 days, that information will be provided by debt collector (this typically applies in situations in which the current creditor/loan holder identified pursuant to (a) above bought or otherwise acquired the loan from the original creditor/loan holder)

(1) it should be noted that, if the debtor so makes a demand in writing for  the name and address of the original creditor, debt collection efforts must stop until that information has been provided.


MR. MCGRATH PROVIDES ASSISTANCE AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS BASED ON APPLICABLE FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 3

This is Part 3 of a multi-part series.  Part 1 focused on identifying the applicable Federal Law; Part 2 focused on allowable communications from FDCPA debt collectors.

Can a Creditor (Lender) or Debt Collector File a Lawsuit Against a Debtor (Consumer) to Attempt to Collect a Debt?


1. As a general rule, yes, a creditor or debt collector working on behalf of a creditor can file a lawsuit against a debtor to attempt to collect a debt.


a)  This is usually, but not always, true. If you are being sued over a debt, or have been threatened with a lawsuit over a debt, you should seek advice from a qualified attorney.

2. If the debt was secured with property belonging to the debtor or property belonging to someone on the debtor's behalf, a lawsuit to  recover the debt owed might be able to be filed in the jurisdiction where the property is located.


3. Unless number two above applies, the general rule is that a lawsuit filed by a creditor or debt collector must be filed in the jurisdiction in which the debtor lives or the jurisdiction in which the original contract creating the debt was executed.


MR. MCGRATH PROVIDES A DEFENSE AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS BASED ON APPLICABLE FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 2

Part 2 focuses on what debt collectors are allowed to do under the Federal Law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  Part 1 focused on identifying the primary Federal Law itself and who it applies to.  Future parts will focus on whether debt collectors can file lawsuits against debtors, what the law prohibits debt collectors from doing, and what actions a consumer/debtor can take (possibly including recovering monetary damages) when debt collectors violate the law.

Allowable Communications from FDCPA Debt Collectors


1. Who can be contacted about the debt?


(a) the debtor (borrower);

(b) the debtor's spouse;

(c)  the debtor's attorney on the debt matter (if any);

(d) the debtor's parent if the debtor is a minor;

(e) the debtor's guardian (if any);

(f)  the debtor's executor or administrator (such as when the debtor is deceased);

(g) a consumer/credit reporting agency;

(h) the attorney for the debt collector/debt collection agency;

(i)  the attorney for the creditor (the entity actually owed the debt, for whom the debt collector is likely working);

(j)  anyone else the court or the debtor allows the debt collector to contact; and

(k) in certain situations, a debt collector can contact almost anyone else in relation to the debt (see #2 below for more information);

2. Who else can be contacted about the debt, and in what situations?


(a) A debt collector who is unable to locate a debtor may contact a third party to ask for the debtor's location information: home address, telephone number, and place of employment.

(1)  the debt collector must identify himself/herself by name and state (s)he is confirming information concerning the debtor's location (using the debtor's name, and not describing the person as a "debtor");

(2) the debt collector cannot reveal the name of the debt collection agency or that the call pertains to debt collection, unless specifically asked;

(3) written communication from a debt collector to a third party to obtain the debtor's location information must not indicate the fact that the debt collector is, in fact, a debt collector;

(4) each third party can only be contacted once, unless the debt collector believes that the information obtained during the first contact was wrong, incomplete, or outdated and that the third party would now have better information;

(5) also, a third party can be contacted more than once if the third party so requests.

3.  When can debt collectors call about the debt?


a)  Generally, debt collectors are not allowed to call before 8  a.m. or after 9 p.m., using the debtor's time zone.

(1) However, debt collectors can legally call at other times if the debtor or a court of law has given such permission.

4. Can the debt collector contact the debtor at work?


(a) Debt collectors can contact the debtor at work unless the debt collector has reason to know the employer does not allow this type of  communication at work. Usually, the debt collectors will attempt to contact the debtor at work until/unless someone (such as the debtor) tells the debt collector such contacts are not allowed. It is best to follow up and confirm such verbal communications in writing.

5. Can the debt collector continue to contact the debtor if the debtor has an attorney on the matter?


(a) NO, not if the debt collector knows the attorney's name and contact  information, or can easily get it, unless that attorney is unresponsive or specifically agrees to allow the debt collector to contact the debtor directly.

MR. MCGRATH PROVIDES A DEFENSE AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS BASED ON APPLICABLE FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part One

Part 1 focuses on identifying the primary Federal Law itself and who it applies to.  Future parts will focus on what debt collectors are allowed to do under the law, what the law prohibits them from doing, and what actions a consumer/debtor can take (possibly including recovering monetary damages) when debt collectors violate the law.

A.  The Primary Federal Law which Protects  Against Debt Collectors


1.  The primary Federal Law which provides protection against certain  actions by debt collectors and debt collection agencies is called the Fair  Debt Collection Practices Act, or "FDCPA".


B.  To Whom and What does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Apply?


1. What kind of debts does the FDCPA apply to?


a) The FDCPA applies to personal debts, not business debts.

2.  What kind of persons or organizations are considered debt collectors under the FDCPA, and thus must follow it? The FDCPA defines "debt collector" as:


(a) a person who regularly collects, or attempts to collect, personal  debts on behalf of another person or institution; and

(b) a person who regularly collects, or attempts to collect,  personal debts on his/her/its own behalf, but uses a different name in doing so.

3.  What kind of persons or organizations are not considered debt collectors under the FDCPA, and thus may not need to follow it?  (this list is not exhaustive, but contains the most common examples)


(a) an entity collecting another entity's debt in a rare occurrence;

(b) an entity which collects its own debts using its own name;

(c) an entity which owned the debt and sold it, but continues to service it (examples include student loan companies and mortgage loan companies); and/or

d) an entity which is attempting to collect a debt in good standing (in   other words, a debit not in default).

MR. MCGRATH PROVIDES A DEFENSE AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS BASED ON APPLICABLE FEDERAL AND/OR STATE LAW.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.