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b2ap3_thumbnail_bankruptcy-button.jpgDebt collection companies are often given a specific protocol to follow when collecting debts. Their owners may set out specific rules for these transactions. Additionally, federal and state laws often impose additional requirements regarding the collection of debt.

Common Collection Procedure

When a debtor is delinquent on his or her account, the original creditor will attempt to collect the debt on its own. However, if the attempts go unanswered and the debtor does not respond by paying the bill in full, the creditor may submit the debt to a third party debt collector. When a creditor refers a debt to a third party collector, it usually does so by selling the debt to the third party collector for cents on the dollar. The debt collector becomes the new owner of the debt and receives the rights of the original creditor to the balance owed. In other situations, the original creditor remains the creditor and pays the debt collection company a portion of the amounts collected on delinquent accounts.

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Usually when someone receives dozens of phone calls at all hours of the day, all by the  same person who also troubles the victim's family, friends and neighbors, we have a word for it: STALKER! And stalkers, as we all know, are criminals.

But suppose the same scenario applies with just one difference: the "stalker" is a debt collector. Most people would be much less likely to think of the behavior as criminal. But in a sense, it is. Maybe it's not as scary (except to your pocketbook), and maybe it's not as creepy (although often extremely creepy tactics ARE used), but it's every bit as illegal -- in that the debt collector can be hauled into court and face stiff penalties. However, it's not the police who do the job: If you're the victim, it's YOU. You can take action against the debt collector and, if you're successful, you can collect as much as $1,000.00 in fines and you can recover your attorney's fees and court costs -- all thanks to something called the FDCPA (here) and its cousin, the Rosenthal Act.

The list of debt collector no-no's is much too long to post here, but we can briefly mention the most typical abuses. If you notify them in writing to "cease further communication," their phone calls have to stop; the same goes if you tell them your attorney's name and that doesn't even have to be in writing!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-New-Years-Resolution-150x150.jpgCelebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a blast!  I enjoy celebrating everything that has been accomplished and look forward to what lies ahead.  This year the top ten New Year resolutions look to be the same as last year's, and I can’t help but ponder a hypothesis.

As we compete to get ahead, people compromise what is most important to them in order to survive; and as the economy declines the sacrifices made become deeper as competition grows.  As the unemployment rate increases those who remain employed find themselves, paradoxically, sacrificing time with their families in order to support them; and sacrificing their own physical and psychological health in order to support themselves.

With 2012 an election year, we look to our leaders for guidance and ask what they will do to turn things around and put Americans back to work.  But without looking to our leaders for guidance, I focus on the people I see every day and change what I can and let go of what I can’t.

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