Debt Collectors Creating a Sense of Urgency

Collectors sometimes create a sense of urgency in order to bully consumers into paying debts they may or may not owe by keeping them from having a chance to spot the collector's lies, get counsel from someone else, or reconsidering paying.

Here are several ways collectors might create a sense of urgency:
  • Calling the consumer on the telephone to demand immediate payment;
  •  Threatening that the consumer will have to pay a larger amount than she owes, including fines or penalties, attorneys' fees, costs, or other bogus fees; adding bogus fees or charges that are not authorized by the contract or law is a violation of the FDCPA that  some unscrupulous collectors use to threaten and scare consumers into paying up. "Penalties" are illegal under Illinois law. Debt collectors may only add attorneys' fees to a debt if the contract permits it, they file suit, obtain a judgment, and the fee is approved by the court. Anything else is a violation of state and federal law. This happens frequently in the collection of bounced checks and with certain scummy debt collectors from the Buffalo, New York and Cleveland areas.
  • Sending letters that demand immediate payment or payment before or shortly after sending the initial written communication to the debtor - consumers have an absolute right to dispute an alleged debt for any reason or no reason at all within 30 days of receipt of the first written communication from the debt collector advising the consumer of her rights under the FDCPA. This is called "overshadowing" and it may be illegal.

Keep a notepad by your telephone to make a record of the date and time of every collection call you receive. Be sure to write down the name and telephone number of the collector, the name of the agency, the name of the collector (they often use fake names but can be identified within their agency by them), any "account numbers" or "case numbers," and exactly what the collector said to you. If you prefer, you can use the Collection Communications Log prepared for your convenience by Peter Barry of Barry & Slade in Minneapolis.
For a free confidential consultation please call (312) 638-0819.

Fax collection letters, loan documents, or other documentary evidence of illegal business activity to us at (312) 638-9136 or email to The Shanfield Law Firm represents people in individual and class actions in several types of cases. You understand that sending a fax or email the Shanfield Law Firm, Ltd. does not contractually obligate our firm to represent you. We can only serve as your attorney if both you and our firm agree, in writing, that we will do so.