The Military and Leases:
Some of our clients are former or current members of the military. One of the questions we are often asked is what are the obligations of the servicemember with regards to a residential lease. Servicemembers have the right to break a lease of premises that they or their dependents occupy or intend to occupy for residential purposes. This right applies to leases signed before the servicemember enters active duty. In addition it applies to leases signed after entering active duty if the servicemember receives military orders for a permanent change of station or to deploy with a military unit for ninety days or more. Another issue we deal with are servicemembers’ families receiving harassing phone calls or other abuse by debt collectors trying to collect a consumer debt incurred by the soldier. We are proud to assist members of the military. If you are suffering harassment by collection agencies or need help with your debt related issues, give us a call for further assistance.
So, What Can You Do if you Are Served With a Complaint?
You can respond in writing to the Complaint with an answer. There is a strict time limit, though, so you must submit your answer before the deadline.
You can then appear at a hearing and explain your side of the story. The creditor must prove that you actually owe the debt. Often the creditor cannot produce the necessary documents to show that you actually owe the debt. Even if the creditor can produce the documents you may be able to prevent the creditor from entering the documents into evidence. At this point, it may be helpful to hire an attorney to argue your case at the hearing since it can get complicated.
Well- who is a third party debt collector? It is someone who is trying to collect the debt on behalf of the store or who purchased the debt and is now trying to collect the debt. If the store hires an agency to collect the debt then the agency is a third party debt collector. If the agency purchases the debt then they are are a debt buyer. A debt buyer is a third party debt collector under the FDCPA.
It is important to remember that it must be a consumer debt for the FDCPA to apply. A consumer debt is a debt used for household purposes, not for business expenses.
But I Don’t Owe Them Any Money! I Owe It, but Not That Much!
What do you do if you feel that you do not owe the debt and have not yet been served with a Complaint? Well, you can write to the debt collection agency and inform the debt collection agency that you dispute the debt and request the name and contact information of the original creditor. You must write to the debt collection agency within 30 days of receiving the first written communication from the debt collection agency.
Here is a sample dispute letter that you can use.
Debt Collector’s Name
Debt Collector’s Address
To Whom It May Concern
I am writing in response to your letter dated ____________ sent by your company because I dispute this debt and am complying with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Section 809(b): Validating Debts:
Please forward me the following documents:
• What purpose the alleged debt was for.
• Calculations of amount owed.
• Agreements between me and the original creditor showing my agreement to
repay this debt.
• Identify the original creditor, if different from the debt collector.
• Date of last payment on this account.
Please inform any credit reporting agency or credit bureau that I dispute this debt.
If you do not own this debt please forward this letter to the original creditor for validation of this debt.