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Minnesota consumers can stop creditor harassment

Most people feel bad when they cannot pay their bills. The situation is already stressful. Adding to that stress, are the harassing phone calls from debt collectors that seem to have no mercy. However, there are many ways to stop creditor harassment. One man is fighting back through a legal action, but Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is also an option for many.

According to court documents, a homeowner is suing two banks for illegal debt collection practices. The homeowner stated in his complaint that he was induced into two mortgages on his home by an appraisal that misrepresented the true value of his home. As a result, he alleged that he obtained two mortgages on his home in an amount that was more than the true value of his home.

The homeowner retained an attorney to handle the matter and allegedly informed the banks that he was represented by counsel. However, instead of going through his attorney, the man alleges that the banks continued to call him on 19 different occasions for collection. The homeowner is seeking damages and civil penalties for each violation.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from unfair debt collection by establishing guidelines by which third party creditors must abide in collecting a debt. The FDCPA requires collectors to do the following when they call:

•· identify themselves

•· express their intent to collect a debt

•· identify the original creditor

•· notify consumers of their right to dispute the bill within 30 days

•· respond to disputes with documentation of debt within 30 days

•· file any subsequent legal actions in the consumer’s county or county where debt was signed

Additionally, collectors cannot call outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., they must cease communication upon written request by the consumer, refrain from repeated phone calls, refrain from communicating with consumers who have filed bankruptcy or those who are represented by an attorney and refrain from abusive language to name a few.

Minnesota consumers have certain legal rights when it comes to debt collectors. Knowing what options are available will go a long way in protecting consumers from unfair debt collection practices. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can also stop harassing phone calls but its main purpose is to eliminate debt in the event a debtor is unable to pay.

Source: The West Virginia Record, “Man sues Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase for illegal debt collection,” Kyla Asbury, May 3, 2013

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