What a Debt Collector Can and Cannot Do...Know Your Rights!

You do not have to put up with debt collection harassment, but you need to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in order to put a stop to it!

Our nation's consumer protection agency is call the Federal Trade Commission or FTC.  This agency enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA.  The FDCPA was designed to put a stop to abusive and unlawful attempts by debt collectors to collect debt.

too many credit cards

Debt Collectors are strictly prohibited from using unfair or deceptive techniques in their debt collection activity.

Not all debts are covered by the FDCPA.  The act covers basically all debts, such as:

  • personal loans
  • credit cards
  • store cards
  • medical bills
  • student loans
  • mortgages
  • auto loans

The FDCPA does not include debts you may have incurred in order to operate a business.

So, what happens if you find yourself in a financial situation where you can no longer meet the terms of your loan or credit account?

Once your account has been charged off by the original creditor and placed with a collection agency, the telephone calls will start.  This is the most abused type of debt collection activity, but you have rights that you must not only be aware of, but take advantage of!

Unless you agree to it (and who would), a debt collector cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm.  They also are prohibited from calling many, many times during the day.  Many debt collection agencies use an automated dialer to make thousands of calls a day, hoping to catch someone.

Here is some good advice on how to deal with a debt collector's call:

If you have the address of the debt collector (from one of the many letters you have no doubt received by now), then don't answer.  Your caller ID should indicate an "unknown" number or a number that is certainly not one of your family or friends.

If you (or perhaps one of your family should answer by mistake), briefly tell the debt collector that you are working on the problem and will get back to them...then HANG UP!

REMEMBER...Debt Collectors are professionally trained to get you to agree to pay back your debt right away!  Trying to explain your circumstances hoping for some understanding and/or sympathy is usually a waste of your time.

If you don't have the address of the debt collector (I'll explain why in a minute), then ask for it from the debt collector or at least get the debt collector to identify the company.  Now, you can go on line to get the address...WHY?

Because the FDCPA specifies that once a debt collector has received a written demand to stop placing calls to you, they must stop!  They are allowed one more call to tell you they got your letter and will not call again or that they intend to take further legal action in an attempt to scare you into...yep...giving them money!!!

In most cases, the debt collection agency will honor your demand letter and stop calling you.  That doesn't mean that you are not still responsible for the debt, but at least they will stop call you.

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

What about calling you at work?

A debt collector is also prohibited from calling you at your place of employment if they are told orally or in writing that you are not allowed to receive calls at work.  Again, most of the time, they will honor your request.

What about calling your family or neighbors?

Yes, but only to find out a little information about you:

  • Do you still live at....
  • Is your phone number still....
  • They may ask about your place of employment as well.

But, they may not discuss your financial situation!

I'll discuss what you can do if they are violating the FDCPA in just a minute, but here are some other basic practices or techniques that are also prohibited by debt collectors:

They are prohibited from...

  • using threats of violence or harm (but, after a dozen years in dealing with debt collectors, I have never heard of this violation)
  • using obscene or profane language
  • making false statements, such as claiming to be an attorney or representing the government
  • making statements such as "you may go to jail" if you don't pay!

threatening to garnish your wages or seize your property if, in fact, they have not been awarded a judgment after several months of legal efforts.

threaten to take legal action if, again, they don't follow through

OK, so what can you do if you feel that a debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

First, contact your State's Attorney General's office to file a complaint.  Usually, the best way to do this is to go on line. 

For example, in Oregon, you can file a complaint at:

Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection

Next, you will want to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

FTC Complaint Assistant

Your state's attorney general's office as well as the Federal Trade Commission doesn't take abusive debt collection practices lightly!  In fact, you have a right to sue a debt collector in a state or federal court within one year of the violation.

If you plan to do so, you should consult an attorney.

Finally, dealing with debt collectors is no fun and is certainly not easy. But, knowing your rights can really help.

Need mor advice?  Let us help:


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Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt, debt collection in oregon, credit card debt relief oregon, credit cards

Don't Mess With Texas!

dont mess with texasIf you live in Texas and are having problems paying your debts, you have some specific protection from debt collectors that other states don't provide!

In other words, "DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS"!

What is the Texas Homestead Law?

Texas Homestead Law exempts your primary residence from creditors in bankruptcy as well as from debt collectors.

This includes a home or condominium as well as improvements such as:

  • swimming pool
  • hot tub
  • barn
  • water tower
  • pumps
  • roads
  • and other affixed items

A Texas resident mus file a HOMESTEAD DECLARATION (form filed with the county recorder's office).

Essentially, a debt collect cannot file a lien against a homeowner's primary residence in order to attempt to collect an unsecured debt.

Can Wages be Garnished in Texas?

Again, residents of Texas have some advantages that other states don't have, in that a debt collector cannot garnishment wages for debt collection in Texas.

This DOES NOT apply to:

  • Unpaid income taxes
  • Alimony or child support
  • Federal Student Loans
Of course, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to Texas residents as well as a number of other state laws to protect it's citizens from unfair debt collection practices!

Employers can find information about wage garnishment limits and exemptions in Texas at:


Texas provides some of the best protection from creditors of any state and allows those who are in financial trouble to seek relief through DEBT SETTLEMENT without the fear of wage garnishment and/or a lien on their homestead.

If you would like to know how to settle your debts for less than you owe, let us know!

debt settlement in texas


photo by: Jamiesrabbits

Tags: wage garnishment in texas, fdcpa, debt settlement, debt collection in texas, texas homestead law

How to Stop Abusive Debt Collection Practices

stop collector abuseYou do not have to put up with abusive debt collection practices.

Debt collectors must abide by the laws spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or could face severe fines!

The  Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  is the nation's consumer protection agency and has published guidelines for consumers that explains what a debt collector can and cannot do.

Here are just some of the most abusive debt collection practices and violations:

Calling you many, many times a day at all hours of the day!

A debt collector may not call you before 8am (local time) or after 9pm (local time), unless you have agreed to it.

The best thing you can do to put a STOP TO DEBT COLLECTORS CALLS, is to send them a letter that demands that they stop calling you both at home and (if employed), your employer!

It is a good idea to send the letter via certified mail so you have proof that they received it.

You should also keep a copy of the letter.

The debt collector may only contact you once more to tell you they received the demand letter.

If they continue to call, you should report them to your state attorney general's office by going on line to file a complaint.

You should keep a log of all calls, time of day, etc.

A debt collector cannot discuss your debt with neighbors, family or friends without your consent!

A debt collector can only contact others to find your address, phone number or where you work.


  • Debt collectors are prohibited from:
  • using obscene or profane language
  • making many, many annoying calls (many times via computer dialer)
  • using threats of violence
  • making false statements, such as threatening a legal action if they do not follow through
  • falsely claim to be a government agency
  • threaten to seize, garnish or sell your property to pay the debt (unless they have been awarded a legal right through the courts)

 What can you do if a debt collector has been awarded a judgment against you?

You may want to get advice from an attorney (yes, expensive), but it is VERY IMPORTANT that you don't ignore a summons, notice of levy or garnishment.

Once a debt collector has been awarded a judgment, they can apply for a writ of garnishment and also for a levy of your bank accounts.

The best thing you can do is to contact the debt collector immediately after receiving a letter and do you best to settle the debt.

Debt Relief NW can help you:

  • Stop collection calls
  • Negotiate debts for 50% or less in many situation
  • avoid garnishments and bank levies
  • avoid bankruptcy



stop colletor abuse




Tags: debt collection, fdcpa, debt collection harassment, debt settlement in oregon, garnishment

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

how to dispute errors on your credit reportWe all know that using White Out on your credit report won't really fix anything.

Here are a few tips on how to dispute errors on your credit report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal agency that promotes the accuracy and privacy of information on consumer's information on the nation's credit reporting agencies.

We are entitled to a FREE CREDIT REPORT once every 12 months (or if you are rejected credit).

You can also call 1-877-322-8228 to order a Free Report or request it by mail:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

PO Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

If you find errors or want to dispute items, you must write or go on line to each credit reporting agency.  Going on line is the easiest and quickest method. Here are links to each of the major reporting agencies:

Basically, you must be able to prove that the information is inaccurate. For example, let's say that you had an old credit card account that was charged off and then wound up with a collection agency.

After being contacted by the collection agency, you were able to negotiate a settlement of the account. Even though you have settled the account, it is still showing a balance.

How do you dispute the error on your credit report?

You will need to provide a copy of the SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.  Please don't tell me you didn't get the agreement in writing! 

Many consumers will agree to a settlement or repayment plan over the phone, authorize check-by-phone or other form of payment without a written agreement! If this is the case for you, all is not hopeless.  You should be able to find proof of payment from your bank.  So, you will need the SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT and PROOF OF PAYMENT.

The Credit Reporting Agency must contact the creditor or collection agency with the dispute, and you should be able to go online and check up on the progress.  This process will take 30 days or more, so you will need a little patience!


Even if you have legitimate, negative items on your report, those items can and should be removed after seven years (or shorter if the statue of limitations in your state is shorter). The same is true for judgments, however, a bankruptcy can stay on a report for up to 10 years.

If you have old, legitimate negative information that older than the statute of limitations in your state, you should dispute it and have it removed!

If all of this sounds like a "little to much" for you to handle, we can help!

If you find that you have several old or outstanding debts that is hurting your credit score, we may be able to get them SETTLED FOR MUCH LESS THAN THE BALANCE!

Negotiating older, delinquent debts can save you THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and improve your credit report and score.  Find out how by clicking the link below!

how to dispute errors off your credit report









Tags: dispute errors on your credit report, fdcpa, debt settlement

How to Stop Debt Collectors with Debt Validation

stop debt collectors with debt validationYour getting calls from a debt collector, but you do not believe you owe the debt. 

Learn how to stop debt collectors with debt validation.

First, you need to understand a little about debt collection and the process a creditor may use (and many time abuses) to collect that debt.

You have a credit card with a balance of $5000, but you have been unable to pay the minimum payments because you lost your job or have some other financial hardship.

  • The creditor  sends your account to their internal collections or recovery department.
  • You start getting calls and letters trying to get you to pay up!
  • If they are unsuccessful, they will most likely “assign” or “sell” the debt to a collection agency.
  • Now the collection agency starts to call and call and call (HOW TO STOP COLLECTION CALLS) and send letters demanding immediate payment.

Since you know that you owe the debt, this is not the time to use DEBT VALIDATION in order to stop the collection efforts.

You only have a few options at this point:

But, for the purpose of this article, let’s say that you believe one or more of the following:

  • Do not believe that you owe the debt the debt collector claims.
  • Believe the statue of limitations has run out on this debt
  • Not sure if you owe the debt and want to make sure it is valid
  • Think you paid this debt off a long time ago and don’t owe anything now
  • Ran a credit report and saw this debt listed and you think it should not be as you paid it in a settlement.

Here’s what you can do to Validate your Debt:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives us the legal authority to request a validation of a debt claimed by a collection agency.

Send a certified letter (so you have proof of receipt) demanding validation of the debt to the collection agency within in 30 days of receiving the letter from the collector.

Sample Letter:

Reference your name, address, etc. and the name of the collection agency, address, etc. at the top.

Reference your account and account number.  If the collection agency has assigned as special account number, reference that as well.


To whom it may concern:

I received a letter dated (date on the letter) from you demanding payment of the above debt.

I do not believe I owe this debt and pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, 15 USC 169g Sec. 809 (b), I am requesting a validation of this debt.

Please provide the following:

  • Produce copies of any papers that show that I agreed to pay what you say I owe as well as a copy of my signature and date on those documents.
  •  Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if this applies to this alleged debt.
  •  Provide proof that your agency is registered in my state.

If you can provide the above documentation, I will need at least 30 days to determine if this information is correct and again, according to the FDCPA, all collection activity must cease.

Looking forward to clearing this matter,

Your signature

Print your name



There are several other demands that can be made, but at this time, your goal is to verify the debt.  If you do not get a receipt of delivery of your registered letter, call the collection agency to verify the address and send again.

  • It will most likely take the collection agency 30 days or so to get back to you.
  • If they do not get back to you, then this most likely will be the end of it.
  • You should wait a couple of months and then check your credit report to see if this debt is listed (or still listed).

If the calls and letters have stopped and it is still listed, you can request the credit bureaus to remove the listing by providing copies of your letters, no response, etc.

I’ll write more about the debt validation process and more options in later blogs, but in the meantime, if you need help, let us know.  (1-877-492-4109)


Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt settlement, debt validation

How to Stop Illegal Debt Collection Practices

how to stop illegal debt collectionGetting several calls from harassing debt collectors?

Here are a few tips on how to stop illegal debt collection practices:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using illegal, abusive or deceptive practices to collect money!

You need to know your rights and what to do if you think they have been violated.

The FDCPA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Federal Bureau of Consumer Protection.  They have a very helpful website that would be worth your time to visit.

The FDCPA covers all personal or family debts including:

  • Credit Cards
  • Auto loans
  • Medical Bills
  • Mortgages
  • Personal Bank Loans
  • Store Cards
  • Pay Day Loans
  • Private Student Loans

A debt collector CANNOT CALL YOU AT ANY TIME OR PLACE! They can only call between 8am (your time) and 9pm (your time).

Collectors may not contact you at work after they are told (by phone or in writing) that you are not allowed to receive calls at work!

A debt collector cannot “harass” you.  Now, harassment can take many forms, but specifically, a debt collector is prohibited from:

  • Using threats of violence or harm
  • Using obscene or profane language
  • Making many, many calls per day (if you are getting several calls, keep a log for future reference)
  • Making false statements:
    • Claiming to be attorneys if they are not
    • Claiming to be a government representative
    • Claim that you will go to jail
    • Claim that they are going to pursue legal action (if in fact they do not)
    • Make false claims of the amount you owe
    • Threaten to garnish your wages or sell property to pay your debt

The first time a collector or creditor calls, talk with them.  Don't get angry or yell at them, but be strong and don't act weak.  Simply explain your situation and ask them to give you some time.  

To stop future calls, send a letter that states that you intend to repay the debt, but cannot at this time due to (reason for hardship).  Request that they stop calling you immediately or that you will file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office and the Federal Trade Commission.

Send the letter by registered mail and keep the receipt that they received it.

The calls should stop, and if they don’t, follow through with your report of collection abuse! The worst thing you can do when you are behind on your payments is to ignore them.

You may be able to Settle Your Debts

If your debts are behind 3,4 or 5 months or more, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for less than you owe!

For example let's say that you have a delinquent credit card with a balance of $5,000.  Unfortunately, you are unemployed or have some other financial hardship, so you just can't keep up with the minimum payments.

  • It may be possible to negotiate a one-time settlement of 50% or less of what you owe.
  • If the collector or creditor agrees, GET THE AGREEMENT IN WRITING before making a payment!
  • If you do not have a lump sum (most people don’t), you may be able to negotiate a settlement paid over several months.

We arranged term payment settlements all the time, some as long as 24 months!

If all of this just sounds like too much for you to handle, let us help.

how to stop illegal debt collection


Tags: fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, how to stop collection calls, debt collector harassment

How to Stop Debt Collector Harassment

stop debt collection harrassmentDebt collector harassment can be stopped!

A consumer is protected from debt collector harassment by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  Here are some FAQs about Debt Collector Harassment:

Here are just a few of the unlawful practices that are prohibited by the FDCPA:

A debt collector may not:
  • Call before 8am or after 9pm (your time zone)
  • Call you at work if you have told them you are not allowed to receive calls at work
  • Threaten any type of violence
  • use obscene or profane language
  • call many times a day
  • Disclose any information about your debt to a third party such as family or friends

A debt collector may not make false statements such as:

  • They cannot claim to be attorneys
  • They cannot pretend to represent the government
  • They cannot claim that have committed a crime by not paying or that  you could be arrested unless you pay

A debt collector cannot make threats such as:

  • they are going to seize your property or
  • garnish your wages unless they intend to take action or follow through with legal action

If you feel that a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you can contact your state's attorney general's office and file a complaint.

For example, in Oregon, CLICK HERE.

You can also contact an attorney. The FDCPA states that if the debt collector has been found guilty, the debt collector has to pay your attorney fees

This means that an attorney can help end the harassing and unlawful conduct at no cost to you! 

The FDCPA also prohibits the debt collector from calling you again when you are represented by a lawyer.  The FDCPA also states that you may be entitled to up to $1000 in damages as a penalty for the debt collector’s violation of the law. 

If you feel like you are being harassed by your creditors, we can help you to eliminate that debt and get them off your back.  Give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click the link below for FREE information.

how to stop debt collector harassment



Tags: fdcpa, debt collection harassment, debt collector harassment

How to Stop Oregon Wage Garnishment

stop wage garnishment in oregonIs it possible to stop a wage garnishment in Oregon?


Yes! But, you need to know how the process works.

When you have unpaid debt, and for the purpose of this blog, we're talking about unsecured debts, such as:

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Medical bills
  • Personal line of credit (not tied to your home)
  • Private Student Loans

Your creditors have a right to collect monies that you promised to repay when you borrowed the funds.

If they cannot get you to start paying by calling and mailing nasty letters, they may decide to turn your account over to a collection agency.

As you know, debt collectors can be very annoying and most of the time, violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the FDCPA.

If you feel that they have violated the protection and rights you have through the FDCPA, you should contact your state's attorney generals office and file a complaint.

If the  debt collection agency cannot get you to pay, they may decide to file a COMPLAINT in your county court for the debt you owe.

If they do, you will receive a SUMMONS either personally delivered or by registered mail.


The summons will state that you have about 30 days to provide and ANSWER to the court or the PLAINTIFF (the creditor filing the claim) may proceed with further legal action.

The ANSWER would be your argument that you do not owe the debt.  Most of the time there is no use in paying the fee or hiring an attorney to produce an ANSWER, but if you feel that you do not owe the CLAIMED DEBT, then you should challenge with an ANSWER.

If you do nothing (as most people do), the court will generally award the plaintiff with a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.  In other words, they win by default as you are admitting that you owe the debt.

If you do nothing, it is very likely that the attorney for the plaintiff will apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT that will be sent to your employer.

Now, the Writ of Garnishment ONLY APPLIES TO THOSE WHO RECEIVE W-2 wages!

You cannot be garnished if you receive income from:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Welfare or public assistance
  • Spousal support or child support
  • Public or private pensions
  • Veterans benefits and/or loans
  • Disability proceeds of life insurance policies
  • Cash surrender value of life insurance policies
  • and many others

Click Here for a complete list of EXEMPT INCOME in Oregon.

But if you receive notice from your employer that you will be garnished (25% of your net check in Oregon!), you still may be able to STOP THE GARNISHMENT.

You will need to contact the attorney's office for the plaintiff and try to get them agree to let you make reduced payments (not the 25% of your net income) until the entire balance is repaid, including attorney fees and 9% (Oregon).

This is called a STIPULATED AGREEMENT, and if you are successful, the attorney may have you sign a copy of the Stipulated Agreement and file it with the court.

If you fail to make a payment according to the Stipulated Agreement, then the Stipulated Agreement is revoked, and you now will be garnished again!

If all of this sounds like TOO MUCH, we can help.  We have helped many, many people stop  wage garnishment. Give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or Click on the link below:




Tags: fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, how to stop a wage garnishment

Debt Collector Harassment: Can anything be done to stop them?

debt collector harrassment callsCan anything be done about debt collector harassment?



A consumer is protected from debt collector harassment by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  Here are some FAQs about Debt Collector Harassment:


NO, they are prohibited from calling before 8am or after 9pm (your time zone).  They may not call you at work if they are told that you are not allowed to get calls.


Yes and No... A debt collector may contact a third party, but only to inquire how to get in touch with you.  They ARE NOT permitted to disclose any information about your debt.


A debt collector may not:

  • make threats of violence
  • use obscene language
  • call many, many times a day

A debt collector may not make false statements such as:

  • claiming to be attorneys
  • claiming to be a government official or representative
  • claim that by failing to pay the debt you have committed a crime
  • claim that you could be arrested unless you pay

A debt collector cannot make threats such as:

  • you will go to jail if you don't pay
  • they are going to seize your property or garnish your wages unless they intend to take action or follow through with legal action


These are just a few of the actions and practices that are forbidden to debt collectors.  Unfortunately, debt collectors habitually violate the FDCPA!


If you think your rights have been violated, contact your state's attorney general's office and file a complaint.

For example, in Oregon, CLICK HERE.

Bottom line...you have rights as a consumer and do not have to put up with debt collector harassment!  If you would like help, our Debt Solutions Specialists can answer your questions.

debt collector harassment

photo by: chmeredith


Tags: fdcpa, debt collectors, debt collector harassment

How Long is the Statute of Limitation on Credit Card Debt?

statute of limitationsIf you have old credit card debt, you may be wondering how long a collector has to collect.

There was an interesting article in our local newspaper "The Oregonian" today, 4.2.12 entitled "More time for debt collectors".

Seems that three people sued the credit card/debt collectors (specifically Daniel N. Gordon, an attorney in Eugene that specializes in debt collection) that the creditors could not sue after 3 years because the statute of limitations was only 3 years in the state of Delaware (the state where the credit card company lists as the home office).

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that a creditor can have as long as the individual's state's statutes of limitation to attempt to collect a debt.

In Oregon and Washington, the statute of limitations is 6 years.

What does that mean to you?

If you have old credit card accounts that you have not paid on for over 6 years you have a couple of rights that you need to know:

If you see that debt (longer than 6 years) on your credit report, you can request that it be removed as the statutes of limitations has expired.

The credit reporting agency (usually Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) will investigate and if you are correct, remove the item.

In some listings on a credit report, you will see a notation of when this account is scheduled to be removed due to the statute of limitations being exceeded.

It is important for you to know what the statute of limitations is for your state.  You can find a listing (although you should double check on line at your State's official site) at:

                              LISTING OF STATE'S STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS


Another reason it is important for you to know your rights is if a collector sues by filing a claim in the county court of your residency, you can dispute the claim if the statute of limiations has expired (for your state of residency).


You need to be aware of the term "re-aging" debt.  If a collector calls and you agree to make a small payment to stop further action, etc., the statute of limitations clock is reset and basically starts over!

Therefore, if you have old debt, is is NOT WISE to talk with a collector or to make any acknowledgment of the debt.

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), if you make a request in writing to the collector, they must stop calling you at home or at work.

In making the request, DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE DEBT!

State that you dispute the validity of the debt and that you are not responsible.

Demand that they cease from calling you at work and home or that you will report them to your state's Attorney General's office.

If you would like help, here's a link that will show you HOW TO STOP COLLECTION CALLS.

If you want to resolve an old debt rather than risk legal action from collectors, you should consider a Debt Settlement Program, where you may be able to settle the debt at 50% or less and have it removed from your credit report!

For more information, click the link below for a FREE CONSULTATION!


Tags: fdcpa, debt settlement, debt collectors, fair debt collection practices, how long is the statute of limiations on credit ca