My best advice to debt buyers….DON’T DO IT

I am frequently approached by debt buyers to represent them in collecting their newly acquired portfolios. I generally do not accept these kinds of engagements. These debts are generally fraught with lots of problems. If you are contemplating buying debt or if you are being sued on a credit card debt from someone other than the original creditor, read on…I am about to save you a lot of grief. Here are the usual problems with purchased debt:
1. The debt buyer usually does not get any supporting documents to show that the debt is owed by the consumer. If you are a consumer and you get sued by a debt buyer, simply ask the court to order the debt buyer to provide proof of the amount of the debt and a signed contract. 99 percent of the time, the debt buyer cannot produce these documents. This leads to a dismissal of your case.
2. The debt was usually presented to other collection agencies and/or lawyers to collect. They could not collect it and that is why it was sold. Now you are trying to collect it and what happens? Chances are you are not going to be anymore successful than the previous collector. What amazes me is when the debts are represented (misrepresented) as having been presented to only 1 prior collection agency. How do you know that for sure? There is no way to verify this.
3. If the debt was consumer based, then the new owner and collector are both subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This Act is so easy to violate. Suing on this debt can easily turn a defendant into a plaintiff. I have frequently sued collection agencies for violating the FDCPA. Usually, as part of the settlement, we have the debt extinguished. We frequently settle these cases not just because the collection agency made an error of some sort, but because if they defend it, attorneys fees in defending the case will cost them thousands of dollars. Even if they successfully beat us in court (to date that has not happened…but even if that fateful day ever came), and the collection agency was awarded attorneys’ fees against the debtor, they know that their chances of collecting are essentially nil. They have much to lose and very lttle to gain. Buying debt that is already in default subjects not only the collection law firm to the FDCPA, but it also subjects the debt purchaser to the Act as well.
4. The Fair Credit Reporting Act presents a host of new opportunities for debtors to sue you as well. If the debt purchaser reports the debt on someone’s credit bureau, the consumer can dispute it. The debt then has to be flagged by the new purchaser as a disputed debt or the debt purchaser gets into trouble. Here is something else to consider. If the consumer asks the credit bureau to investigate the debt, the debt purchaser better be absolutely sure that the debt is valid or else the purchaser can get into trouble with the consumer and yes…end up paying the consumer’s attorneys fees.
5. HIPPA – yes…you must have heard of it by now. Essentially, and in an overstated fashion, if a healthcare professional gives away any of your personal information, they can get into deep trouble with some governmental agency. Note, that presently, there is no private right to recovery, but the government can fine the health care professional up to $50,000 for violating this Act.
Hey…are you still interested in purchasing debt? If not, good. If so, please visit my website as we do legal defense of these Acts and will be glad to defend you….

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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2007 and is filed under Debt Collection Tricks and Traps . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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