Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dealing With Scavenger Debt Collectors

I have been getting phone calls from what I believe to be a scavenger debt collector. It's no secret that I have not been the best with money in the past. I also didn't open my mail or answer the phone for about three years. During this period, I didn't answer the phone because I didn't have a phone. Now I am getting calls multiple times a day from a business called RPM. This business is known as being a scavenger debt collector. I have found multiple complaints online citing their predatory and borderline harassing debt collection practices. They do not comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, nor do they listen when simple requests are made.

They have called me multiple times a day for the past few weeks and even called me right at 9 pm one night, not completely illegal but so close that if I were in a different time zone they would have been in non-compliance.

At this point, I am almost 100 percent sure that they are continuing to call me about a debt they have no legal right to collect on. The only thing I can think of is past the statute of limitations for collection. This is pure conjecture on my part, given their record of purchasing up old cell phone bills and harassing consumers into payment, long past the time of legal collection.

In the state of Tennessee, the statute of limitations on open accounts, including credit cards, is 6 years.

As a consumer, I like to know my rights. As a renter, I feel the same sense of responsibility.

The first thing on my checklist for dealing with these bottom-feeders is:

1. If they actually get to talk to me, which they won't, I will request a letter stating the validity of the debt.

This is a good sample letter to send to a collection agency that will not get the hint. If they refuse to comply with this, or fail to do so within the allotted 30 days, on to step 2!

PS. The collection agency cannot charge you for digging up your old records.

2. If the collection agency fails to deliver the letter of the debts validity, or if the letter does not include one of three important bits of information:
a. proof that they actually own or have been assigned the debt
b. original statement or copies of from the original creditor
c. original signed loan agreement or copy of
AND if they are still reporting to credit bureaus, this step involves sending ANOTHER letter to the creditor.
The second letter includes: A copy of the certified letter receipt, a copy of the original letter sent to them, and a statement letting them know they are not in compliance with the FDCPA.

If they do not respond to this letter and do not remove the blemish from my credit report, I will proceed from there. But until then, I will keep avoiding them. Since I am almost positive they have no legal grounds to collect anything from me, it never hurts to put a little bit more time behind us. Plus, I can't afford to pay anything right now anyway. Not that I owe any money, but still.

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