Gary Nitzkin, writer of the article, brings up the example of Larry D’Ambrosio, owner of the Unicredit America, Inc. collection company. Unicredit is being accused of using several illegal tactics to collect from debtors, such as setting up a fake courtroom and having “trials” and also having people impersonate police officers who would go out and serve people subpoenas that required them to report to the fake court. The Pennsylvania Attorney General shut the operation down and is currently trying to permanently close the collection agency.
Mr. D’Ambrosio and Unicredit committed outright violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (FDCPA). The FDCPA is responsible for protecting consumers and for overseeing debt collectors. The type of violations committed by Unicredit happen surprisingly frequently, however, debt collectors not knowing that their collection tactics violated the FDCPA is no excuse and won’t get them any breaks.
The best way to collect on a debt is not to do anything outside of the FDCPA’s umbrella of restrictions.
The fact is that you don’t need to even go near its borders between permissible and impermissible behavior to collect debt successfully. The days of hard core bulling a debtor have been over for decades. Consumers have access to free or low cost attorneys and information about their rights under the FDCPA from the internet. These days, charm wins people over.
Collectors can even try to “partner” with debtors to work together to collect or resolve a debt. By working with a debtor, you get more cooperation and will make more progress faster than through harassment. Also, if one debt collector is after a consumer’s money, it’s very likely that others are too and by cooperative and respectful “your bill goes to the top of his pile of bills.”
Sometimes it’s impossible to “partner” with a consumer. Instead of resorting to harassment the best FDCPA-approved option is for a debt collector to file a lawsuit and go through the (real) judicial system.
If you have had problems with debt collectors, or have been harassed by one, and have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.
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