Debt Collector Harassment

by Stephanie
(North Carolina)

I had a debt collector call and tell me I owed money on a charged off account that I was unaware there was still a balance on, I gave them my debit card number to pay installments, not thinking to check into the matter first. I then proceeded to call back ask for some sorts of written document and was told I would be emailed the information, which I still have not received. After research on the group (Coast Mitigation and Associates) I have found nothing but negative articles about how this is a scam. They have now started contacting my work threatening with a summons. This account is 3 years old and wondering what would be the appropriate action, seeing as I have been given no opportunity to dispute this, which I thought was a right?

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Nov 25, 2011
Debt Collector Harassment

The fact that your debt was charged off does not mean that you don't owe the money. You do, and to collect it, the creditor may turn the debt over to an outside collection agency. That fact does not mean however, that the collection agency that contacted you is legit or has not violated your rights.

It is important that you become better informed about what to do and not do when a debt collector gets in touch because you have made some serious mistakes in dealing with the agency.

First, NEVER give a debt collector your debit card information or any information related to your bank account. Once you share such information with a collector, you have no control over what he may do with it and how much money the collector may take out of your account. I would cancel your debit card immediately and I would also get a new bank account. Has the collection agency taken any money out of your account?

Second, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says that when a collector calls you about a debt for the first time, he must send you certain information in writing within 5 days, including his name, the name and address of his employer, his work number, and the name of the creditor for whom he is trying to collect the debt. You should also have asked for this information when you first spoke with the collector. If the collection agency does not send you the written information within 5 days, then it's violated the FDCPA.

Also, if don't think you owe a debt or if you think the amount that a collector wants you to pay is wrong, the FDCPA says you can ask for written verification of the debt. The collector must provide you with that information, assuming that you request it within 30 days of being contacted about the debt for the very first time.

Third, if your employer does not want you to be contacted at work about the debt, you have the right to tell the debt collector not to contact you on the job again and if the collector's calls continue, the collector has violated the FDCPA.

Finally, if a collector threatens you with a lawsuit, it is violating the FDCPA if it does not really intend to sue you or if it does not have the legal means to sue you.

I strongly urge you to become more informed about your debt collection rights because not knowing them may have harmed you. A good way to do that is to get our ebook Debt Collection Answers. You can read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free.

And, I recommend that you contact a consumer law attorney about the actions of the debt collection agency you are dealing with. You may have legal recourse. Go here for a free consultation with a consumer law attorney

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