Debt collection cases dominate the court dockets here in Utah. In 2010, there were over 13,000 debt collection cases filed in Davis and Weber County. In Bountiful there were almost as many people sued for debt collection then there were people cited for speeding tickets.
This really isn’t all that surprising. A bad economy typically equals less money to pay bills. Everybody deserves to get paid what they are owed. However, in my experience, debt collectors often use unfair, and often illegal, tactics when attempting to collect a debt. Sometimes, people are sued for a debt that they don’t even owe.
I had a client a few months ago who was sued by an insulation company for an alleged unpaid debt. Last year, the client had contracted with an insulation company to install more energy efficient and cost-effective insulation in his home. The company told him, in writing, that all of the costs would be covered by rebates from Questar and Rocky Mountain Power. The company said that they would even submit the rebate forms and the client would not have to do anything. The company installed the insulation and everything seems to have worked perfectly… or so he thought.
A year goes by and my client gets a phone call from a debt collector demanding payment for the insulation installation. Obviously, my client is blown away by these phone calls and, of course, the collector has no idea about his situation and is only interested in calling him 24-7 for the unpaid debt. Come to find out, the insulation company has not only sent him to collections for the unpaid bill, but also has sued him and obtained a judgment against him! All without his knowledge. Right after the phone call the client came into our firm for help. Within minutes we were able to find out that the rebate forms were filled out improperly by the insulation provider and that instead of fixing the mistake, they decided to rush to the courthouse to sue.
Fortunately, our office caught the error in time. We were able to set aside the judgment and get the collection company to dismiss their lawsuit. You would be blown away by how many people have judgments against them from collection agencies, completely without their knowledge. Many states, such as Maryland, have enacted laws to make it fairer for people who are being sued for debt collection. Debt collection cases in Utah far surpass any other type of civil case, even divorces.
Debt collection agencies not only rush to sue- but they also can harass you day and night, without much supervision. Technically, under the law, debt collectors have to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and only call at certain times and at certain numbers. However, these rules are almost impossible to enforce. If you are getting hounded by creditors or collection agencies there is one sure-fire solution that will get them off your back – Bankruptcy. The second you file for protection under the bankruptcy code creditors must stop harassing you. Bankruptcy filing places an “Automatic Stay” on all collection activities.
If you have been sued for a debt that you don’t owe or if you are being constantly hounded by creditors- call today and let us stand between you and your creditors. We will demand that they treat you fairly and with respect.
Creditors have millions of dollars on their side. Who do you have to protect you?
Education yourself on fair debt collection activities here:
Here is an article in the Washington Post about a collection agency in California being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for threatening people’s families.