Are You Throwing Proof of Your FDCPA Violations in the Trash? Save Your “Junk Mail”!!

Save All Mail from Debt CollectorsI read a press release today that managed to make me both angry and happy at the same time:

“Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Collection Agencies Credit Card Offer for Debt Repayment Contains Multiple Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Violations”.

I was angry when I read details of the extensive trickery by the debt collectors involved in this case, and happy to read that the class action suit continues to move forward.

You can read the full press release here, but in essence, it explains that a class action lawsuit has been filed against debt collectors for sending deceptive correspondence to debtors.

One of the dirty tricks listed was that the mail pieces looked almost identical to typical marketing pieces sent by credit card companies offering pre-approved credit to consumers, but the offer extended was actually part of a debt collection scheme, and on top of that, may have led to consumers unknowingly waiving certain FDCPA rights. From the press release:

According to court documents Plaintiff Mark Myers received a mailed communication on July 12, 2010 with an offer from NCO Financial Services and GFS Financial Solutions that stated in bold print at the top, “Transfer your debt to a Pre-Approved+ MasterCard®!” The average consumer receives numerous credit card offers in the mail each month and may have perceived this offer, which was an attempt to collect a debt on behalf of the defendants, as a typical credit card application/offer, or junk mail and tossed it in the trash, and in the process, thrown away a communication that triggered specific rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Also of note, the required written notice that the correspondence is from a debt collector (this notice must be easy to see and easy to read) was neither easy to see or read, as it was buried in fine print on the back of the mail piece.

None of my clients have shown me correspondence like this, and there are probably two reasons:

PLEASE–save all written correspondence that you receive from debt collectors!

What you consider “junk mail” might become a valuable tool for your consumer attorney if you find yourself fighting harassment, garnishment, deception, or any of the many other unfair debt collection practices detailed in the FDCPA. Harassment, abuse, and deception don’t just occur by telephone. The “dirty tricks” debt collection tactics can be found in your mailbox too. Don’t throw away your proof!

Remember–if you feel that you are being harassed, abused, or deceived by a debt collector, contact a local consumer attorney to discuss your situation, ASAP.

photo credit: sxc.hu/avanzero

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