Let’s face it—being in real estate doesn’t produce the dependable income it did before 2008. Many people are struggling with bills that can’t be paid on time. They might be receiving phone calls from collection agencies.
I just signed up for Attorney John Watts’ blog on consumer protection issues, and his newsletter. The very first newsletter article was something I immediately wanted to share with you: Illegal Debt Collection Practices. Rather than try to paraphrase John, I’ve received his permission to quote his article in full. At the end, I give you his contact and blog information.
“If you are receiving voice-mails from debt collectors, consider saving the voice-mails. Often the messages from debt collectors do not say:
“This is an attempt to collect a debt” and “This is a communication from a debt collector”
—when these are missing the calls may very well violate Federal law.
“It still amazes me that we sue these debt collectors for this and often they don’t even fight — they just knowingly break the law and know that the cases are not worth a lot of money (usually several thousand dollars) and they will pay it to us.
“If they are going to break the law, and leave it recorded on your voice-mail, you might as well save it and have a lawyer in your state take a look at it. Or a listen to it I suppose is the better way to say it.
“I figure if these guys want to knowingly break the law, then they must want to pay you some money….. 🙂
“Of course other types of debt collection mis-conduct may be more valuable and every case is different but my point is that even something so simple as what to say on a voice-mail can be ignored by a debt collector even though they know it is illegal to ignore it . . . .
“Keep that in mind as you get voice-mail messages — it may be worth your time to listen to them and save them.”
John’s contact information appears below. There is nothing to be embarrassed about if you are trying to pay your bills but just can’t. Collection agencies rely on the fact that you are ashamed, and will not report their outrageous conduct to an attorney or the authorities. I’m not saying that failing to make the disclosures above is outrageous in and of itself. BUT, if they can’t do something as easy and simple as making the above disclosures, what ELSE are they doing to violate your rights?
If you want more information, here is John’s contact information. No, he’s not a friend I’m helping out by drumming up business for him. I don’t even know John. I do know the things he writes about, and I’m very impressed with him.
John G. Watts
Watts Law Group, PC
301 19th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
voice – 205-879-2447
fax – 888-522-7167