California Collection Services Do's And Don'ts
Most ordinary consumers are misinformed about what California collection services can do. There are a myriad number of federal and state laws and regulations which specify the actions a debt recovery agency can take for different types of debts. This necessitates separate recovery procedures for mortgage debt, car loans, credit card bills, etc.
Apart from debt-specific laws, recovery agencies also face regulations that govern the actions of their staff. For instance, a debtor can only be called during waking hours (8 a. M. To 9 p. M.). Also, it's not legal to place multiple calls in quick succession in this period. Debtors can even stipulate that they do not want to be called during a specific period of the day.
Generally speaking, it's not wise to avoid collection agencies since they have a right to persist. Debtors may, however, ask that they be contacted only via mail. They can even entirely refuse to entertain the agency's right to recover the debt, but this course of action would lead straight to a civil case in court.
As per the California Civil Code, the agency and its personnel must take care not to use obscene or profane language in letters or in verbal communications. They cannot engage in any form of conduct which results in a person being harassed, oppressed or abused. The collection agency cannot make ordinary letters seem like legal notices. Every written communication must include the collection agency's name, address and phone number.
At the first contact, the debt recovery staffer has to clearly state the creditor's name on whose behalf they are contacting the debtor, along with the amount owed. They have to explain how the debt can be disputed if the debtor feels it to be incorrect. All this must be done at the first contact or at most within five days after it. The agency may assume the debt to be valid if it is not disputed within a month.
Employers can also be contacted for certain specific reasons. For example, they may want to verify that the debtor is still working at the company. If the creditor has already obtained a court judgment, the recovery agency may contact the employer to garnish wages. If an employer does not respond to the written request within 15 days, recovery personnel can use other means to contact them.
The procedure after the first contact varies based on the debt in question. It's easier to collect on secured debts such as car loans. The agency merely has to establish contact, seek repayment and threaten repossession if the debtor does not respond. Recovery of an unsecured debt is harder, requiring more follow-ups to get payment in full or at least a partial payment agreement with the balance being paid in the form of post-dated checks.
Keeping a list of creditors happy with successful collections is only possible if the agency has an experienced team that knows how to handle troublesome customers without using unethical or unlawful methods. California collection services usually have an attorney or sometimes even teams of lawyers licensed by California State to practice law. Staffers can lean on debtors to pay up, and quickly move the matter forward to a point where there is no choice except to pay or face legal action and more serious recovery proceedings.
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