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JAMES A. FRANCIS Francis & Mailman, PC Land Title Building, 19 th Floor 100 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19110 Phone: 215-735-8600 Fax: 215-940-8000.

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Presentation on theme: "JAMES A. FRANCIS Francis & Mailman, PC Land Title Building, 19 th Floor 100 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19110 Phone: 215-735-8600 Fax: 215-940-8000."— Presentation transcript:

1 JAMES A. FRANCIS Francis & Mailman, PC Land Title Building, 19 th Floor 100 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA Phone: Fax:

2 Why seniors may be subjected to unlawful debt collection and credit reporting practices o Rampant Abuse in Collection Industry o FTC receives more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry, 140,036 in 2010 o Bad Debt Buying Industry has exploded o Seniors perceived as vulnerable and having access to income, even though may be fixed; o Often credit inactive 2

3 o Federal laws which prohibit unfairness, deception and harmful tactics by debt collectors and credit reporting industry o Mandatory attorneys fees provide for free/no cost representation by private lawyers; o Can recover $1000 statutory damages under FDCPA, plus any actual damages, FCRA actual damages o FDCPA strict liabilitystatute/FCRA very specific as well 3

4 o FTC and its website; o Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) o Senior Law Center o Private lawyers/consumer advocates who will usually work on a contingency; o 4

5 o Repeated, harassing and abusive phone calls; o Contacting family, neighbors and 3 rd parties to embarrass consumer into paying debt; o Lies/deceptions/misrepresentationstoo many to list o Reporting debts on credit report that are prohibited Common Unlawful Collection Practices 5

6 o FDCPA prohibits harassing and abusive communications generally o No calls before 8AM or after 9PM o Right to demand verification/validation of a debt o Right to impose cease and desist on communications o The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, its applicability, cell phones and the Do Not Call List 6

7 Date Your Name Your Address Your city, state, zip code Name of Collection Agency Address City, state, zip code Dear Sir/Madam: After being contacted on numerous occasions by employees of your agency, I am writing to demand that you cease and desist contacting myself or anyone else regarding this debt and in the future only contact me through US Mail. I also request that you send written verification that I owe this debt to your company. Sincerely, (sign here) Your name 7

8 o FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from speaking with 3 rd parties about a debt except for location information o FDCPA prohibits calls to the workplace/employer if debt collector knows consumer cannot take calls there 8

9 o Consumer will be arrested or go to jail o Threatening to sue or suing on old debts o Social Security income is attachable o Sheriff is coming to take house, cars or other property o Senior liable for debts of children/family members Client Seena Rosenberry case and the CBS story o Children/family liable for debts of senior o Senior liable for medical billing/Medicare submission errors o Debt will be reported on credit report even though old Common Lies and Misrepresentations Punishable Under FDCPA 9

10 o Reporting false or otherwise prohibited information on consumers credit report o Both FDCPA and FCRA prohibit false credit reporting o Increasingly utilized tactic because of the leverage and pressure it creates and growing consumer awareness Misreporting Debts/Account Information 10

11 o Reporting negative information after 7 years/Debt Reaging o Reporting account without noting that it has been disputed by the consumer o Reporting prohibited information about medical bills/procedures (including reimbursement submissions) 11

12 o Debt Collector buys delinquent or past due account that is older than 7 years o Age of debt relates to date of first delinquency o Debt Collector assigns the date of collection as the date of first delinquency, reaging debt another 7 years; 12

13 o FDCPA section 1692g o FDCPA section 1692e(8) o FCRA section 1681i and 1681 s-2(b) 13

14 o DC must advise consumer of right, and specifics of the debt (clearly outline the debt and creditor to whom owed) o Within 30 days of first communication from a debt collector, and within writing o Gives consumer right to demand that debt collector provide verification or proof of the debt o Debt Collector must cease collecting during verification period 14

15 o Prohibits debt collector from reporting the debt to anyone, including a credit reporting agency without noting its disputed status o Dispute can be orally or in writing o Failing to note the disputed status an automatic violation; 15

16 o Apply to credit reporting agencies and creditors, not just debt collectors o Require both to conduct an investigation of the consumers dispute, and failing to do so allows consumer to sue for damages o Dispute MUST be made to the CRA o Even if the investigation results in verification of the debt/account, must still report disputed status 16

17 Date Your name Your address Your city, state, zip code Name of CRA and/or furnisher [Equifax, Experian, Trans Union] Address City, state, zip code Dear Sir/Madam: After reviewing my credit report, I am writing to dispute the following inaccurate information. I am listing each item along with the way it should be corrected: [Account name] [Account number] [How it should report/Why its inaccurate*] Supporting documents have been enclosed. Pursuant to the FCRA, please forward them to the credit furnishers. If you are not going to forward them, please inform me so I may do so myself. Sincerely, (sign here) Your name Your Social Security Number Your Date of Birth Enclosures: (list what you are enclosing – examples: police report, fraud affidavit, proof of payment, etc) 17

18 o Use of someones name and personal identifying information to buy goods, obtain money and use credit o Seniors sometimes targeted because often not credit active 18

19 o Secret Credit Card Swiping o ATM Fraud o Mail left at old addresses 19

20 o Order Credit Report Regularly o FACTA/FCRA now permits free report once a year from each of the CRAS o Look at credit history AND inquiries for creditors you dont recognize 20

21 o Fraud Alerts o Invoking FDCPA right to demand verification/validation o Fair Credit Billing Act for Charges o Right to Disputes to Big 3 CRAs and debt collectors 21


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