Once people in Las Vegas and elsewhere default on a loan, the debt collection calls start coming in. If this has happened to you, it’s best to talk to a Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer rather than wait for the situation to get worse, but another issue is prevention. Many debt collectors’ calls are to cell phones, which aren’t forbidden by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but might run afoul of another law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which Congress passed in 1991.
The TCPA forbids debt collectors from using auto-dialers and predictive dialers to call people on their cell phones. There is an exception to this rule: If the debtor provided the collector or the original creditor with his or her cell phone number, then the call is legitimate. The debtor may then send a letter to the debt collector revoking its permission to call the debtor’s cell phone. The TCPA also bans calls to any phone number not belonging to the debtor, such as relatives, neighbors, employers, friends, etc. Violations are $500 per call, and $1,500 for every call to a device the collector knew was not allowed.
So the question is, are there any ways for debtors to prevent TCPA violations before they occur?
One suggestion is to be clear about what number you place in the form when applying to the loan. Nearly all forms nowadays separate home phone numbers from cell phone numbers. The problem is which one to fill out. Fewer and fewer Americans own land lines these days, so they write in their cell phone number as their home phone number, which forms list as required information. Those who put their cell phone numbers in the home number field are likely to get calls on their cell phones from debt collectors who mistakenly believe that it’s not a cell phone. As a result, if you have a land line or a cell phone line you don’t mind falling into the hands of a debt collector, giving that instead is a good idea.
A similar suggestion is to obtain a Google Voice phone number and use that instead of your regular phone number because it’s easier to monitor and screen calls. Otherwise, if you already have a debt problem, consulting with a Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which course of action is best for resolving your financial problems.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.