So you’ve got a collection agency chasing after you. Some guy calls you four times a day and threatens to sue you and tell your employer that you are a deadbeat for a 57.00 bill from two years ago for something or some service you might have bought but you are not even sure you bought it much less paid for it. Sound familiar? Your circumstances may be better or worse. But there are rules that the collector has to follow which you should know about.
There is a federal statute called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA for short. There is a very similar Ma. Regulation called the Code of Massachusetts Regulation or CMR for short. The CMR has regulations for many things and the debt collection part is in 940 CMR 7.00. These statues and regulations put several burdens on the debt collector which you should know about to protect your rights whether you owe the debt or not.
There are pages of regulations that the collectors must follow and by not following these rules leave them open to a claim by you against them. We don’t have the space here to go over ever one but I will highlight a few common violations.
Let us look at the example I started with. The collector called you 4 times in a day. He is not allowed to call more than twice in a seven day period. He threatens to sue you for $57.00 debt. He can’t threaten to sue you unless they normally sue people for $57.00. It would not be cost effective to do that so he probably never does and therefore can’t threaten you with that claim. He threatens to tell your employer about the debt. He cannot communicate with any third party about your debt and in particular your employer. You are not sure whether you do remember or do not remember the debt. If you ask the creditor to verify the debt he must stop any collection activity and within 30 days provide you with verification of the debt.
Robert Osol, Esq
536 Main Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
Attorney Osol is a partner at Melia & Osol. He practices law focusing on creditor law, commercial claims, bankruptcy, real estate law, small business law and estates.
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