Debt Collection A to Z: M is for Misrepresentation
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the North Carolina Debt Collection Act prevent all types of deceit, lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations by debt collectors to consumers. I frequently get calls and emails from consumers who have been told they face immediate arrest, immediate service of process, garnishment, and other consequences for being delinquent on a debt. The truth of the matter is that some of these consequences may occur but
if so it usually takes far longer than what the collector states and, in some cases, the collector has no real intention (and in some cases even lacks the ability) to exact these consequences. Therefore the truth has been misrepresented.
Whether it is the amount of the debt, the identity of the owner of the debt, or other important facts it is mandatory the collector tell the truth. Obviously the fear of adverse consequences may motivate a consumer to make an agreement or payment but if this fear is premised on false information represented by the collector the consumer could have legal remedies against the collector. In some cases the collector’s own supposed savvy or intimidation creates a situation where the legitimate amount of the debt owed is overshadowed by the claims for legal damages the consumer has against the collector for making misrepresentations. With statutory damages, actual damages, and attorney fees as weapons the consumer then holds the power.
If you have been contacted by a debt collector whom you believe has made a misrepresentation to you do not try to handle the matter yourself as far too often the collector will bully you or minimize your potential claims. DO contact an experienced consumer lawyer for a consultation and possible assistance.