New Jersey Debt Collection Harassment Lawyer
Debt causes enough stress without harassment from debt collectors. The good news is that you do not have to deal with this on your own.
The Lynch Law Firm's New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers have in-depth knowledge of state and federal law on harassment from debt collectors. We know what steps to take to end harassment and limit communication from debt collectors. Our experienced debt collection harassment attorneys can also pursue compensation for violations of federal and state law and for emotional damages.
Our attorneys have received numerous accolades: James S. Lynch and Brian A. Held are lifetime members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, making our firm the first in the state to have two lifetime members in this prestigious organization.
Contact our firm right now for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
What Should I do When a Debt Collector Contacts Me?
Some consumers make the mistake of thinking they have to pay a debt simply because a debt collector contacted them. While consumers are responsible for many of the debts they are contacted about, this is not always the case.
Verify that the Debt is Valid
The first thing you should do when you are contacted by a debt collector is verify that the debt is still valid. Collectors sometimes call or send letters to consumers about debts that are past the statute of limitations and can no longer be collected.
Fortunately, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and New Jersey's Fair Debt Collection Practice Act require debt collectors to provide a written notice with the following information within five days of contacting you:
- The amount you owe
- The name of the original creditor to whom the debt is owed
- A statement that the debt collector will assume the debt is valid unless you dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving the notice
- A statement that if you dispute any portion of the debt within 30 days, the debt collector will obtain a copy of the judgment against you and mail a copy to you
- A statement that the debt collector, upon your request, will provide you the name and address of the original creditor if it is not the same as the current creditor
Once you request the name and address of the original creditor, the FDCPA prohibits the debt collector from continuing collection efforts until you receive the information.
Check the Statute of Limitations
Review the information from the debt collector and confirm that the statute of limitations on the debt has not expired.
A statute of limitations on debt collection is a deadline for collecting a debt. Once the statute of limitations expires, collectors can no longer try to collect the debt or pursue legal action against you.
These are New Jersey's statutes of limitations on common consumer debts:
- Missed rent payments (N.J.S.A. 2A: 14-4): 16 years
- Debt on a credit card or other open account, written contracts like loans, oral contracts, or promise to pay (N.J.S.A. 2A: 14-1): Six years
- Court judgments for debt (N.J.S.A. 2A: 14-5): 20 years
- Judgments from a foreign country (N.J.S.A. 2A: 14-5): 20 years unless the statute in the jurisdiction is less
Dispute the Debt if it is Invalid
If the statute of limitations has expired or the information you receive from the debt collector does not match the information you have about the debt, you can dispute it. Send a letter using certified mail contesting the validity of the debt.
Seek Help from a New Jersey Debt Collection Harassment Lawyer
The New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers at the Lynch Law Firm can help you throughout this process by:
- Reviewing the information about the debt to confirm its validity
- Determining when the statute of limitations for your debt ends and if your debt has passed that point
- Drafting a letter to the collector disputing the debt if we find any discrepancies
- Handling all communication with the debt collector from now on
While there is no requirement that you hire a New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyer to handle these things, debt collectors often do not take consumers seriously.
Hiring a New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyer escalates the situation and shows the debt collector that you are serious about protecting your rights.
Schedule your free, no obligation legal consultation with our attorneys right now. Call (800) 518-0508 .
Can I Make Collectors Stop Contacting Me?
All you have to do to put a stop to contact from the debt collector is send a letter via certified mail explaining that you do not want to receive any more communication. Once the debt collector receives the letter, he or she can only contact you for the following reasons:
- To tell you that he or she is ending efforts to collect the debt
- To notify you that he or she may employ special remedies to collect the debt
- To notify you that special remedies will actually be employed
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a sample letter that you can download, fill out and send to the debt collector to ask for an end to communication. There are also other sample letters for requesting information about the debt, asking the debt collector to contact your attorney, disputing the debt, and specifying when the debt collector may contact you.
Contact our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers to find out how we can help. (800) 518-0508
Types of Harassment Prohibited by Federal and State Law
It does not matter how much money you owe, or to whom: federal and state law prohibit various forms of harassment, abuse or misrepresentation by debt collectors.
The federal FDCPA and New Jersey's FDCPA have strict regulations on debt collectors contacting consumers:
- The law prohibits debt collectors from contacting a consumer at an unusual time or place or at a location that is known to be inconvenient to the consumer. Debt collectors should assume that a convenient time is between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you if they know you are being represented by an attorney and the collector can easily obtain the name and address of the attorney. In this situation, the collector may only communicate with you if the attorney fails to respond in a reasonable amount of time or the attorney consented to it.
- A debt collector cannot call your employer if he or she knows the employer prohibits you from receiving this kind of communication.
Forms of Harassment
The FDCPA also prohibits the following forms of harassment by debt collectors:
- Threatening to use violence or perpetrating violence or another criminal action that would cause harm to the consumer or his or her property or reputation
- Using profanity with the intention of abusing the consumer
- Calling a consumer repeatedly with the intention of annoying, abusing or harassing them
- Calling the consumer without disclosing their identity
The New Jersey FDCPA prohibits conduct by debt collectors that is intended to harass, intimidate or abuse any person to collect a debt.
Misrepresentation by Debt Collectors
The federal FDCPA has strict regulations about debt collectors misrepresenting themselves or the debts they are pursuing. The following types of conduct are prohibited:
- Falsely stating that the debt collector is affiliated with the federal or state government
- False representation about the amount or legal status of the debt
- False claims from the debt collector that he or she is an attorney
- Implying that the consumer will be jailed or imprisoned or have his or her wages garnished, unless there is a legal basis for it
- Threatening legal action the collector cannot take or does not intend to take
- Implying that the consumer committed a crime
New Jersey's law includes some of the same prohibitions and also states that debt collectors cannot use false or deceptive representation to collect a debt.
Debt collectors are also limited in how they can collect money to pay the debt. The FDCPA prohibits all of the following actions:
- Collecting any amount of money, including fees or interest, unless the amount is authorized by the agreement that created the debt
- Depositing a postdated check or threatening to do so before the date on the check
- Asking for a postdated check so the collector can threaten criminal prosecution
- Threatening to take property or taking property if the debt collector has no right to do so
If you feel you have been harassed by a debt collector, contact our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers today.
Our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers can determine if you can file a lawsuit against the debt collector for harassing or abusive conduct. We may be able to recover compensation for all of the damages you have suffered.
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What if I Receive Automated Calls on My Cellphone?
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal for anyone to use an automatic telephone dialing system or a prerecorded voice to call someone else. This includes calls made for debt collection.
You can file a legal claim to obtain actual monetary losses from a violation of this act, or $500 for each violation, whichever amount is greater.
What Should I do if a Debt Collector Harasses Me?
If you receive any communication that you feel is harassing or abusive, keep a record of it. This includes phone calls, voicemails, texts and any other communication. This could be crucial evidence if you file a claim for harassment against the debt collector.
The next step is to contact our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers. We may be able to file a lawsuit against the debt collector for violations of the federal FDCPA or New Jersey's law.
We will use any records you kept to help draft a strong claim in defense of your rights. We can also conduct a more in-depth investigation, including:
- Subpoenaing phone records
- Using private investigators to find out if the debt collector has past instances of harassment or abuse of debtors
- Reviewing any cases your debt collector is currently involved in
The FDCPA and New Jersey's law have the same standard for proving liability in a debt collection harassment claim. We must prove that the debt collector violated the provisions of either law and did so intentionally and not because of some bona fide error.
The defense will attempt to show by a preponderance of evidence that the debt collector's violation of the law was an error and not intentional.
What Forms of Compensation are Available?
If we successfully prove that the debt collector broke the law, federal and state law allow you to recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages. The amount you receive will depend upon the severity, frequency and duration of the harassment or abuse you were subjected to.
Our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers may also be able to recover compensation for attorneys' fees and actual damages, such as stress-related injuries, like:
- Pain and suffering
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case to determine all of the damages you have suffered. We will build a strong case in order to help you obtain the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form.
Contact Our New Jersey Debt Collection Harassment Lawyers Now
Debt collection harassment is not only tough to handle: it is illegal under state and federal law. The New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers at The Lynch Law Firm can help you fight back.
Our attorneys are prepared to handle all communication with the debt collector so we can protect your rights. We will work to validate the debt and file a lawsuit if you are subject to any form of harassment, abuse or misrepresentation in violation of the federal or state Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Contact our debt collection harassment attorneys today to schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss your rights and find out how we can help you.
Call our New Jersey debt collection harassment lawyers right now. (800) 518-0508
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Lynch Law Firm
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
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