Debtor’s Legal Rights

Debtor's Legal Rights

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Debtor’s Legal Rights

Consumers are protected from abuse by credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, predatory lenders and others who prey upon the gullible and weak by a variety of laws.  Some of these laws are more well known than others.  Federal Laws usually supersede State Laws when there is a conflict. State Laws sometimes provide an additional layer of valuable legal protections for consumers.  Even the best debtor’s legal rights lawyers may at times overlook additional little known provisions and subsequent amendments of State laws.  These changes usually happen with little publicity or advance fanfare.

Debt collectors frequently sell to other debt collectors.  It can be difficult or not worth the paperwork chase for them to prove a “chain of custody” or ownership of the debt.  Be pro-active in making them verify debts.  In a good percentage of cases it pays off.  The debt collectors do not always have their paperwork in order and have to give up on collection.

Make that debt collector prove he has the authority to collect the bill.  Many in the shadowy business of buying and selling debt are lacking written proof of their authority.  If they can’t prove their authority not only do you not have to pay them…you can force deletion from your reports  The credit reporting agency must delete when the collector can’t prove authority to collect.  Start by checking with the Secretary of State to make sure their corporation has paid its annual fees.  Check your State’s Department of Business Regulation to make sure they have registered as debt collectors as required.  If they are not compliant with the legalities they cannot legally confirm the alleged debt with the credit reporting agency.

If you are sued show up.  80-90 percent of small claim judgments are default judgments.  Make the plaintiff show the original signed contract.  Chances are they have bought the debt but don’t have the original documentation.  An account summary is not an actual statement.  Assert your rights and the case may be dismissed with prejudice.

Some of the Well Known Basic Debtor’s Legal Rights Laws

I will list these debtor’s legal rights laws in alphabetical order.  I do this both for easy reference and to dissuade anyone who may think that this listing somehow is weighted towards the importance of each debtor’s legal rights law.  No list such as this can ever be exhaustive.  This is intended only as a primer and reference to help you achieve a more complete understanding of your debtor’s legal  rights.  Pro Se Lawsuits are lawsuits done by a plaintiff without a lawyer.  This is almost never a good idea.  Small Claims Courts in all States typically have very limited jurisdiction.

Use this exposure to consumer legal rights laws to enhance your discussion of  possible legal representation with a lawyer who concentrates in this area.  Don’t try to be a hero alone in the legal arena.  Do what you know how to do.  Let the lawyers do what they know how to do.  It is now easier than ever to find a lawyer willing to handle consumer cases on the internet.  Federal laws affecting debtor’s legal rights frequently facilitate the use of out of state lawyers where necessary or advisable.

Federal Debtor’s Legal Rights Statutes of Note

  • CARD ACT (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act Sweeping Federal Law enacted in 2010 to implement protections against abusive practices by credit card companies against consumers.  Some important features include detailed explanation of consumer rights on invoices in clear language, limitations on raising interest rates on existing accounts.  Late fees reduced.  Over limit fees have virtually disappeared.
  • CROA ( Credit Repair Organizations Act)  Federal law designed to curb abuses by companies claiming to fix consumer’s credit scores.  Places limits on such practices as charging up-front fees and making outrageous promises.  Consumer must be provided with a copy of the law and given a 3 day rescission period.  Payment may not be collected until some results have been obtained.
  • ECOA (Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974)   Federal law that prohibits discrimination by lenders who would deny mortgages on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from public assistance programs.
  • FCBA (Fair Credit Billing Act)   Part of the Federal Truth in Lending Act that governs creditor’s obligations regarding billing procedures.  It’s purpose is to require fairness and clarity to replace the complicated legal jargon that sometimes seems intended solely to confuse consumers.
  • FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act)    Regulates the disclosure of information contained in consumer’s credit reports to Third parties.  Also establishes procedures for correcting errors on credit reports.
  • FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices ActThis law is the foundation for consumers and debtor’s legal rights.  It is weighted towards consumers in its use of the “least sophisticated consumer” standard when deciding whether debt collectors have overstepped their boundaries.  Allows for damages and attorney fees. Debt validation notice and name of creditor to whom debt is owed must be furnished upon demand.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Protects consumers and debtor’s legal rights to privacy and confidentiality concerning their medical records and billing.
  • RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act)   Codifies, simplifies requirements of lenders at real estate closings to disclose information to consumers at certain points in the loan settlement process.  Prohibits kickbacks between lenders and their affiliates.  Designed to make the process of closing real estate sales more transparent for the parties.
  • TCPA (Telephone Collection Procedures Act)  This is the wonderful law that prevents debt collectors and telemarketers from making robot generated calls to your cell phone. With more consumers abandoning land lines in favor of cell phones compliance can be a real problem for them.  Breaks your heart doesn’t it?  Restricts telemarketers use of auto dialing systems.  Requires ID and contact information in the message.

Debtor’s legal rights are more easily pursued by lawyers who have other cases of a similar nature.  This is the result of the economies of scale that apply to the legal business just as they apply to other businesses.  These experienced lawyers do not need to draft new papers from scratch for each case when they have done similar cases in the past.  Also they may be able to schedule court hearings when they have similar debtor’s legal rights cases in the same court on the same day.





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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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