Maginnis Howard is a Raleigh-based consumer protection law firm that represents those wrongfully contacted by debt collectors or collection agencies. If you are being treated unfairly by a debt collector or a collection agency, contact the consumer advocate attorneys at Maginnis Law to determine if you have a claim under North Carolina unfair debt collection laws or the Federal Fair Debt Collection Act or Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Debt collectors are increasingly aggressive in their approach to collect debt. The North Carolina Debt Collection Act and the North Carolina Collection Agency Act, along with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect debt. Even if a debt is owed, a debt collector must follow strict rules in collecting the debt.
Debt collectors cannot contact a debtor at any time and place. Under North Carolina and Federal debt collection laws, a debt collector cannot contact you at inconvenient times or places. Unless agreed upon, debt collectors cannot call before 8 am or after 9 pm. If a debt collector is told not to call at work, the debt collector cannot call your place of employment.
Debt collectors oftentimes call a debtors family, friends, or coworkers. Generally, a debt collector can contact a third-party only to locate the debtor. If a debt collector does contact a friend, family member, or coworker, the debt collector can only seek information pertaining to your location, such as your address, phone number, and place of employment. Absent special circumstances, a debt collector cannot discuss the nature of the debt with anyone other than the debtor’s attorney or spouse.
Under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector must send a debtor a written notice within five (5) days of first contact. This debt collection notice must include specific information including amount of money owed, the full name of the creditor, and how to dispute the debt if the money is not owed. If you send a debt collector a written letter stating that the amount sought is not owed, or seeking verification of the debt, the debt collector must temporarily cease contacting you. This “dispute letter” must be sent within 30 days of the date written notice was provided by the debt collector.
Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing, oppressing, or abusing the debtor or any third party. For example, debt collectors cannot threaten violence or physical harm, use profane language, or repeatedly call a debtor. Debt collectors cannot collect debt by lying, including lying about crimes you have committed, falsely representing a lawsuit if the debt is not paid, or misrepresenting the amount of debt owed. In North Carolina, debt collectors cannot say your wages will be garnished if a debt is not paid.
North Carolina has strong laws protecting persons from unlawful debt collection activities. Debt collectors that violate North Carolina debt collection laws may have to pay a debtor up to $4,000.00 for each violation of the debt collection statutes. Every telephone call, written letter, or text message may constitute a separate violation of North Carolina’s debt collection statutes.
All unfair debt collection consultations with Maginnis Law, PLLC are free of charge. We also accept these cases on a contingency basis so that you pay no attorney fees unless you recover something. Maginnis Law, PLLC is a Raleigh, NC law firm accepting FDCPA and NCDCA cases from Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Morrisville, Clayton, Wake Forest, and throughout the Research Triangle areas. For select cases, we will file a lawsuit outside of the Triangle area. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 or submit a confidential new case inquiry here.