Robert T. Healey, Esq.

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When Credit Reports Go Bad, A Consumer Advocate Attorney Can Help

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Credit Files, credit reporting | 0 comments

When Credit Reports Go Bad, A Consumer Advocate Attorney Can Help

A recent story by the New York Times about flawed credit reports did a great job of  summing up  the trouble and grief that credit reporting agencies give consumers. As a Missouri consumer advocate attorney, I pride myself on staying even keeled and fair for the benefit of my clients. But I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to read about one credit agency after another overlooking the rights of consumers month after month and year after year. These agencies don’t show any interest in improving their methods and processes in order to reduce or eliminate these problems. In their minds, they can just pay the claims and penalties, which frequently run up to the millions of dollars per year. That cost is far lower than actually making sure that all of their credit reporting is accurate. As a result, thousands of consumers are harmed when their credit reports contain false and inaccurate information in them. False information on a credit report can make it difficult for a consumer to get the mortgage, car loan or line of credit that he or she needs, and oftentimes results in much higher interest rates for consumers who can least afford to pay them. Thankfully, there are actions that you can take to protect your rights.

Credit Reporting Companies Don’t Care About Your Rights

It’s sad but true. I’ve seen countless examples of incorrect credit reports over the years. One recent example is a woman named Patricia Armour, from Olive Branch, Mississippi. She spent a total of two whole years just trying to get faulty credit info off of her credit report with Experian. After dozens of back and forth communications(miscommunication is more like it…), she was forced to call Mississippi’s attorney general to look into her case. Then and only then did Experian take responsibility and change her report to make it accurate.

How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Your Rights

Cases such as Patricia Armour’s are common, and that is not just. Thankfully, federal legislation exists that should protect consumers in the event that their credit reports have false or inaccurate information. The law states that credit reporting agencies must have procedures in place which ensure “maximum possible accuracy” of these reports. Yet the Federal Trade Commission reports that 5 percent of consumers have at least one error on their credit reports. That is more than 10 million people! As a result, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been regularly suing the credit reporting agencies in an effort to get them to improve the methods and processes they use in order to produce reports which are more accurate.

 

The problem is that the credit reporting agencies would rather just pay the penalties than change their procedures. Since 2000, FTC lawsuits against these credit reporting agencies have resulted in $25.7 million in penalties. Nonetheless, the credit reporting agencies look at these lawsuits as a cost of doing business, and will pay the fee rather than improve their processes.

How To Protect Yourself When Your Credit Report Is Faulty

I have handled dozens of cases where a client has a faulty credit report that makes it more difficult for that client to get a loan and move up in life. I am also well versed in understanding of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you have a problem with a credit report and the credit reporting agencies are refusing to fix it, you should contact an attorney with the experience in consumer advocacy. My experience tells me that the credit agencies are likely to ignore you until you file a lawsuit against them.

If you have been wronged by virtue of an inaccurate credit report, then contact me, Bob Healey of Healey Law, LLC at (314) 401-3261 or at bob@healeylawllc.com

Consumer Protection Laws That Strengthen Your Rights

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Credit Files, credit reporting, Debt Collection, TCPA, Telephone Consumer Protection Act | 0 comments

Consumer Protection Attorney At Healey Law LLC, we take pride in protecting consumers from unscrupulous individuals and businesses that seek to deceive and otherwise manipulate innocent consumers. Our work has shown that some companies will violate the law in order to extract hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting consumers who otherwise believe they are being given a fair shake. The reality is often far from that rosy-hued picture. In this article, you will learn about the most important laws that exist in order to protect the rights of consumers like you. You will likely find that at least one consumer protection law mentioned here will have direct relevance to your life. Let’s take a look now.

 

Telephone Consumer Protection Act a.k.a. TCPA

 

The TCPA is one of the most often-used consumer laws in recent memory. This law’s purpose is to ensure our right to privacy. With this law, consumers can decide how, when, and by what means telemarketers and debt collectors can contact them. Have you ever been disturbed while eating at the dinner table by a rude telemarketer? Or worse, from some automated call? This law’s goal is to prevent that from happening. Federal judges continue to enforce this law. If you are constantly bombarded by telemarketers, then you may be able to collect some damages. You can contact the Healey Law Firm at the number at the end of this article if you wish to further discuss.

 

Fair Credit Reporting Act a.k.a. FCRA

 

This law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, was created to ensure that consumers are not going to be harmed by reckless practices of credit reporting agencies. The law restricts the ability of credit reporting agencies to supply credit information to businesses. In our history at Healey Law, unscrupulous credit agencies have violated this law frequently with the result being that these mistakes and violations have cost consumers thousands of dollars. Contact us if you believe this applies to you.

 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act a.k.a. FDCPA

 

Have you been abused by debt collectors who won’t stop calling and bothering you, day and night? You are far from alone in this regard. Debt collectors are notorious for their continued abuse of the law and of consumers in their attempts to collect on debts, including deception and other unfair and unlawful practices. This law was created in order to eliminate such abusive debt collection practices by protecting consumers and punishing debt collection agencies that break the law. If you’ve suffered from unfair debt collection, then contact us now.

 

Missouri Merchandising Practices Act a.k.a. MMPA

 

This law, which is specific to the state of Missouri in which Healey Law operates, exists to protect consumers from deception, false pretense, misrepresentation, fraud, or any other unfair practice related to transactions in the marketplace. If you have been deceived by a company within the state of Missouri in the process of doing business with them, then you have cause to respond and potentially earn a settlement in court.

 

Contact Healey Law LLC and attorney Bob Healey now at (314) 401-3261.

 

photo: lendingmemo.com

How To Repair Your Credit When Your File Gets Mixed or Merged

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Credit Files, credit reporting | 0 comments

Knowing how to repair your credit when your file has been wrongfully altered can make the difference between getting the loans you need to get to the next level in life, or you being held back from the life of your dreams – and all with no wrong being done on your part. The good news is that if this has happened to you, then you could be entitled to potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in damages (one Oregon woman won $18.6 million from Equifax for a credit report mixup… more on that later).

Here’s what happens far too often with credit reports these days…

For thousands of Americans, managing their credit rating is of great importance. They make the required payments on all of their accounts on time and behave as  responsible borrowers, in the belief that these tactic will keep their credit scores high so that they can borrow money when they really need to make a large purchase.

However, if a consumer’s file get mixed up with another person’s file, and that other person has had credit problems, the consumer will encounter big problems with their ability to borrow when the need arises. If your name is Sara Johnson and you have excellent credit, but then another Sara Johnson from a different state has terrible credit, and your files get mixed up, then the “good borrower” Sara Johnson will suffer from an inability to borrow the money she may need in times of crisis or in times of opportunity.

Here’s a real life example…

An Oregon woman was denied her request for credit from her local bank due to her credit report. Apparently, her reports had false identifying information, the wrong Social Security number, and false derogatory information about her. She contacted Equifax on numerous occasions to fix it, but never got a satisfactory action to fix her account. The worst part – Equifax wasn’t even handling the issue themselves. As soon as there was an error, they would outsource the problem to a company in the Philippines! She tried every recourse available, but eventually had to sue to get her report fixed. Her verdict? $18.6 million dollars.

So what can you do to repair your credit when your file gets mixed with someone else’s, or merged with another person who has a more troubling credit history? How can you make yourself eligible for the kind of judgment that the woman from Oregon got? And how can you avoid the embarrassment of debt collection for debts that you actually didn’t accrue?

The first step is to obtain a copy of your credit report. You’ll want to skip the online services that offer “free credit reports”, because it is all too easy to get lured into an offering for other services that will result in a monthly bill to your credit card.

There’s another, more pertinent reason to avoid these services too, which is that sometimes when you sign up online you accept terms and conditions that would lead to submitting claims against the credit reporting agencies to arbitration. You don’t want that, because that can severely limit your ability to access the damages you deserve if you do find the need to pursue action in court. Instead, the first step on how to repair your credit is to request your credit report the old fashioned way – through the mail.

To learn about what other action you must take to protect yourself, please contact me, Bob Healey, at (314) 401-3261. Or, click here to contact me via email.

A Debt Collection Cautionary Tale

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Debt Collection | 0 comments

A Debt Collection Cautionary Tale

My colleague Dale Irwin has written a great article in the Kansas City Star regarding the utterly ridiculous state of affairs in the debt collection industry these days. What Dale is so incensed about is something that I’ve seen hundreds of times over the years as a debt collector abuse attorney here in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. And that is debtors demanding payment for debts, when little evidence shows that the debt exists in the first place.

Let me explain…

Debt buyers have a habit of purchasing credit card debt, and at pennies on the dollar. So they may pay $60 for a $1500 credit card debt. They do this because they find it’s easy money to go after people with debt, and demand full payment. They’ll even go so far as to sue a person in court in order to get their hands on the payment.

The problem is that these debt buyers often purchase debts that don’t exist. They also purchase debts with little or no supporting evidence and they don’t bother to verify these debts before filing suit. In other words, it’s highly possible that you or a loved one will get sued for debt that is not yours.

That is exactly what happened to my friend Dale Irwin’s client, an older widow who does not understand that the current state of the debt collection industry is woefully under-regulated. She was sued for $1500 for debt on a credit card she never applied for. Despite her telling the debt collectors that she have never had the card in the first place, they sued her for the full amount.

If it wasn’t for a smart friend who got in touch with a local TV reporter, she could have lost her good credit, which could lead to higher payments on a mortgage, getting denied for loans for a car, or getting refused when wanting to open an equity line of credit.

The problem is that these debt collectors will mislead the judges with deceptive evidence that looks like a credit card statement but isn’t.

Have you personally suffered from an abusive debt collector attempting to collect a debt that you had nothing to do with? It’s more common than you would expect. If you find yourself stuck with debt that you did not earn, and the debt collector is being abusive, you may be entitled to compensation for your troubles that could be quite significant.

Give my St. Louis debt collection abuse law firm Healey Law a call at (314) 401-3261, and I will personally see to it that your rights are fully protected under the law, and that you receive all damages and financial compensation to which you are entitled.

A Problem When You Purchase a Vehicle: No Title on Delivery

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

feb 18Missouri Law requires a car dealer to provide the title to the vehicle at the time it was delivered.  Section 301.210.4 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri holds that

“It shall be unlawful for any person to buy or sell in this state any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, unless, at the time of the delivery thereof, there shall pass between the parties such certificates of ownership with an assignment thereof, as provided in this section, and the sale of any motor vehicle or trailer registered under the laws of this state, without the assignment of such certificate of ownership, shall be fraudulent and void.”

If you signed a retail installment contract and drove the vehicle off the lot, but the dealer did not provide the vehicle title at the time the vehicle was delivered or in the weeks or months thereafter, the sale may be null and void, and you might be entitled to demand a return of the money which you paid for both the down payment and the subsequent monthly payments made.

If you recently purchased a vehicle, and feel that the behavior of the car dealer was unfair or deceptive, you should contact a consumer advocate to discuss the transaction and review all of your potential claims and options.

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principal with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, car dealers, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital). Bob Healey has over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com

New TCPA Rules for Telemarketing Texts and Robocalls

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in robocalls, TCPA | 0 comments

ID-10092880With the advent of the smart phone as the primary engine of electronic communication, it is not surprising that businesses and telemarketing companies would attempt to promote their products via automated calls and text messages. The Federal Communications Commission is empowered to issue rules and regulations implementing the TCPA, and recently, it promulgated new rules pertaining to autodialed (also known as robocalls) and text messages which are sent for telemarketing purposes.  The new FCC rules hold that beginning October 16, 2013, prior express written consent will be required for all autodialed and/or pre-recorded calls/texts sent/made to cell phone and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes.  Note this excellent article by Kevin Hunt of the Hartford Courant detailing these changes:

http://www.courant.com/business/custom/consumer/hc-bottom-line-sue-robocallers-20140118,0,279263.column?page=1

What are the new TCPA Rules?

In a Report and Order approved on February 15, 2012, the FCC adopted additional protections for consumers concerning unwanted autodialed and/or robocalls.  The changes to the TCPA are as follows:

New Rule

Effective

What is the new requirement?

Prior express written consent October 16, 2013 Unambiguous written consent required before telemarketing call or text message.  Exception: calls that are manually dialed and do not contain a pre-recorded message are exempt from the TCPA.
No “established business relationship” exemption October 16, 2013 Established business relationship no longer relieves advertisers of prior unambiguous written consent requirement.

What is Prior Express Written Consent?

The express written consent requirement can be satisfied electronically through email, text message, website contact forms, telephone key press, or voice recording.  Consumer consent must be unambiguous, meaning that the consumer must receive a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that he/she will receive future calls that deliver autodialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing messages on behalf of a specific advertiser; that his/her consent is not a condition of purchase; and he/she must designate a phone number at which to be reached (which should not be pre-populated by the advertiser in an online form).  Limited exceptions apply to this requirement, such as calls/texts from the consumer’s cellular carrier, debt collectors, schools, informational notices and healthcare-related calls.  If a dispute concerning consent arises, the advertiser bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that a clear and conspicuous disclosure was provided and that the consumer unambiguously consented to receive telemarketing calls to the number he/she specifically provided.

How does “no established business relationship exemption for pre-recorded telemarketing calls to residential landlines” affect consumers?

In the past, advertisers could rely on an established business relationship (such as a previous purchase) to circumvent the need to obtain a consumer’s written consent to receive telemarketing calls.  That exception to the consent requirement will no longer exist after this year.  Advertisers will have to obtain written consumer consent, outlined above, even if they previously had a business relationship with the consumer.

What are the penalties for failing to comply with the TCPA?

The TCPA provides for statutory damages ranging from $500.00 to $1,500.00 per unsolicited call/message.   In determining the final amount of statutory damages to award, courts analyze whether the defendant “willfully” or “knowingly” violated the TCPA.

The TCPA is a law which can be very helpful to consumers.  If you feel that you are receiving unwanted automated calls or texts on your cell phone from any entity which does not have express written consent from you to contact you on that number, you should contact a consumer advocate immediately to discuss your claim.

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principal with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for consumers who have been harassed or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, credit reporting agencies, automobile dealers and mortgage companies.  He also represents accident victims in personal injury claims and injured workers in workers compensation claims.  He is a member in good standing with the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital) Bob has over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com or contact Mr. Healey at bob@healeylawllc.com

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Your Short Sale Being Shown as a Foreclosure on Your Credit Report?

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Short Sales - Foreclosure | 0 comments

Short Sale 1-8-14_NEWMany distressed homeowners who find themselves under water on their mortgage and unable to make the payments face a choice: should I let the house go through foreclosure or should I try to arrange a short sale?  This dilemma leads many to ask whether a short sale has less of a negative effect on their long term credit score than a foreclosure.  If one considers only his or her future credit score, the answer is that there is probably no difference. However, a short sale is preferable if you hope to get another mortgage in the future. If you choose the short sale option, you have a chance to qualify for conventional mortgage financing several years sooner than you otherwise would if you lost your home through foreclosure.

Pursuant to Fannie Mae Guidelines, which typically govern the underwriting standards used to determine whether you can qualify for a conventional mortgage, a consumer can qualify for financing as soon as 2 years after a short sale depending on the other information on the consumer’s credit report. In contrast, a foreclosure will preclude the possibility of obtaining financing for a minimum of 7 years (absent extenuating circumstances).  If you choose the short sale option, you need to make sure that the sale is properly reported on your credit report.  This will allow you to re-enter the mortgage financing market much sooner than would otherwise be the case.

The current problem is attributable to the fact that lenders and credit bureaus presently have no code or notation to indicate that a particular mortgage account had a short sale. This is happening even though the industry’s standardized reporting requirements dictate that the original mortgage holder should report the account with a “current or paid as agreed” in the manner of payment field, and denote the short sale in the “Remarks” section as “settled for less than full amount” or some similar notation. In most of the cases where a short sale has occurred lenders are not reporting it this way.

The problem is made much worse because of Fannie Mae’s underwriting practice concerning potential mortgage applications.  Fannie Mae identifies mortgage accounts that are reported with a “collection or charged off” code as foreclosures. In other words, if the original mortgage lender is reporting your short sale as “settled, charged off” in the manner of payment field, Fannie Mae is wrongly identifying that language as a foreclosure. This means that even if you had a short sale, and not a foreclosure, your mortgage application will be denied unless 7 years have passed since that notation was made.

If you have been denied conventional financing because your short sale is being identified as a foreclosure, you may have a legal cause of action to recover the damages you have suffered as a result.

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principal with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, car dealers, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital). Bob has over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CONFIRMS IT-OVER 40 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE ERRORS IN THEIR CREDIT REPORTS

Posted by on Mar 4, 2013 in Credit Files, credit reporting, Debt Collection, Robert T. Healey | 0 comments

 

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CONFIRMS IT-OVER 40 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE ERRORS IN THEIR CREDIT REPORTS

 

errors credit fileRecently, the Federal Trade Commission released a study which confirms what consumer advocates have known for quite some time.  A significant number of Americans have errors and/or inaccurate information being shown in their credit reports.   Note the recent articles which have been written on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/opinion/victimized-by-credit-reports.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y&_r=0

http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/11/pf/credit-report-errors/index.html?source=yahoo_hosted

Credit reports are used by banks, lenders, potential employers, insurance companies and others to make decisions concerning loans, job offers and whether or not to accept your application for something.  An inaccurate credit report can be devastating to your financial future, and getting the Credit Reporting Agencies and/or the institutions reporting the inaccurate or false information to correct your report can be extraordinarily difficult.  For a better idea of how frustrating and devastating the process can be, watch this report from the February 10, 2013 edition of 60 minutes:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50140748n

What does this mean for you?  It means that whether you are someone who has always paid his or her bills on time and think that you have a perfect credit record, or if you are someone who has had some financial problems in the past, you should regularly check the credit files kept on you by the three main credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.  Each of these entities is required by law to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year.

There are many companies which advertise on television, radio and the internet which claim that they will provide your credit reports “for free.” However, I recommend that you avoid those services.  What these entities really want is for you to sign up for their premium credit monitoring services, and they are using the “free credit report” as a teaser to get you interested in their services.

The best way to access your credit report is the old-fashioned way: through the regular mail.  While it is takes more time to receive it, you typically receive a more complete copy of your report when you order it via regular mail, and you don’t have to agree to any terms or conditions in order to access the report.  This can be important later on, as the on-line terms and conditions oftentimes include an agreement to submit any claims or causes of action against the Credit Reporting Agencies to arbitration.  Click here to access the form you need to use in order to request your credit report by mail.

If you are more comfortable with the idea of accessing your report on-line, you should go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain a copy your report.  It is an interactive website, and you will actually get your report for free at that website with no solicitation for other services.

Once you have your report, you should review it and highlight all of the inaccurate information.  The process of getting it corrected is complicated, as it is dictated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Your disputes should be sent in writing via certified mail with return receipt requested and not made via either the telephone or the internet.  The disputes should provide as much detail as possible and any documents which support your claim should be included with the written dispute.  Frankly, given the difficulties associated with making the dispute and following up as necessary, you should confer with an experienced consumer advocate in order to determine your best strategy once you have discovered that your credit report contains false or inaccurate information.

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principal with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital) the attorneys at Healey Law, LLC have over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com

Your Credit Rating after Bankruptcy

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

imageThe primary purpose behind filing a consumer bankruptcy case is to give the consumer a fresh start with respect to his or her financial situation.  One important aspect of the fresh start involves the accuracy of your credit report once the bankruptcy is over.  If the information contained in your credit report is not accurate after you have completed the bankruptcy process, you may not be getting the “fresh financial start” you were seeking.

Once you have completed your bankruptcy and received the order discharging your debts from the bankruptcy court, you should order a copy of your credit report about 6 months later.  You can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies for free by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.  Here is what you should find:

  • Public RecordsYour Bankruptcy filing will appear in the Public Records section of your report.  A Chapter 7 filing may remain for 10 years.  A Chapter 13 filing may remain for 7 years.
  • Individual AccountsEach account included in your bankruptcy will        still show on your credit report, and may remain there for 7 years from the date it first became significantly delinquent. Each account should indicate that it was discharged in bankruptcy, and there is no current balance due ($0).  This is true even if the debt was sold to another entity (normally called debt buyers) prior to the bankruptcy.  The new entity must show a balance due of $0 and show that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy.
  • Inquiries– None of your former creditors or debt-buyers (or their debt collectors) should be pulling your credit report.  Pulls of your credit report usually appear at the end of the report and will provide the date the inquiry was made.  These post-bankruptcy credit pulls can adversely affect your credit rating and they violate a federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  You may have a claim against the offending creditor.

It is important to periodically check your credit reporting report and check it for accuracy.  If you find information which is inaccurate, or if you find that creditors are pulling your report when you no longer have a relationship with them, you should contact an attorney to review these problems.  This is particularly important after you have filed bankruptcy.  At Healey Law, LLC, Bob Healey represents consumers who experience problems and find inaccuracies in their credit reports after they have filed bankruptcy. For a free consultation, contact him at (314) 401-3261 or info@healeylawllc.com.

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principle with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital) the attorneys at Healey Law, LLC have over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com

What All Consumers Should Know About the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Robert T. Healey, TCPA, Telephone Consumer Protection Act | 0 comments

Healey Law, LLC represents consumers in claims for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  The TCPA is a federal law which was passed by Congress in 1991 to protect consumers from incurring the expense and the aggravation associated with harassing phone calls from banks, debt collectors, telemarketers and other big institutions.  The TCPA is a little known but beneficial law for consumers, providing a powerful remedy in situations wherein banks, debt collectors, telemarketers and other institutions begin using automatic dialers and spam text messages to contact them on their cell phones.  Here are some helpful tips to always remember about the TCPA:

  • The TCPA protects consumers from receiving auto-dialed or pre-recorded messages on their cell phone from banks, telemarketers, debt collectors and other entities unless the consumer has provided their prior express consent to receive calls on the cell phone from those entities (it also covers text message spam);
  • The most common violators of the TCPA are debt collectors, banks and telemarketers;
  • If you have previously provided your cell phone to a creditor or debt collector and are receiving calls on your cell phone, you can always revoke any prior consent to receiving calls (it is best to do so via certified mail);
  • Always save your voicemails and have them reviewed by a consumer attorney for potential violations of the TCPA (and other federal laws);
  • Just because you hear a “live” voice at the other end of the cellphone, the call still may have been made with an auto-dialer;
  • If you are beginning to receive pre-recorded calls or calls made from an auto-dialer, start keeping a written log of the calls and request/save your records from your cell phone provider;
  • If you are receiving calls on your cell phone for someone else’s debt, you may very likely have a claim under the TCPA.  One common situation wherein this occurs is if you or someone in your family subscribes to a new cell phone service with a new cell phone number.  Banks and debt collectors for the prior subscriber might continue to call your new number in an effort to reach the old subscriber using an auto-dialer.  These are good causes of action.  These kinds of claims can also arise when calls from banks or debt collectors come to you when those entities are looking for a friend or family member.

The statutory penalty for violations of the TCPA is $500.00 to $1,500.00 per attempted call or communication.  These claims can be substantial if the consumer keeps good records and pays close attention to the calls he or she is receiving on his or her cell phone.  At Healey Law, LLC, Bob Healey has handled hundreds of TCPA claims.  For a free consultation, contact him at (314) 401-3261 or at info@healeylawllc.com.

 

Bob Healey is a licensed attorney and principle with Healey Law, LLC, a full-service St. Louis law firm, specializing in handling cases for accident and injury victims, injured workers, and consumers who have been abused or mistreated by debt collectors, banks, mortgage companies and credit reporting agencies. With 4 convenient locations in Chesterfield, Downtown St. Louis, North County (Bridgeton near DePaul Hospital) and South County (on Tesson Ferry across from St. Anthony’s Hospital) the attorneys at Healey Law, LLC have over 25 years of experience representing clients in the State and Federal Courts in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information visit:  http://www.healeylawllc.com