A debt collector calls and leaves message for you in your voicemail or on your answering machine. What should you do? SAVE THEM!
Leaving messages for you are "communications" under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692, et seq. Therefore, they must contain the "mini-Miranda" warning. What is the "mini-Miranda" warning? It is a powerful disclosure required to warn you that you are dealing with a debt collector. What must it say? Simple. It must say something to the effect of:
"That the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose" during a first contact, and
"That the communication is from a debt collector" during second or later contacts.
So what you ask? Well, how about $1000.00? That's right! If a debt collector leaves you a message that does not contain one of the above two versions of the "mini-Miranda," you could sue and get up to $1000.00 for this violation of the FDCPA. That's why you must save all messages from debt collectors.
If you have a voicemail or answering machine system that deletes the message after so many days, play the message on another recording device. You could record it on a friend's cell phone or on your computer using the record feature standard with most computers. Do not erase the original message until you are sure that it is completely recorded on a new device. Make sure you record the intro material, such as, time and date. The best way to handle a recorded debt collector's message is to leave it on the system in its original format. Then contact an experienced consumer rights attorney right away!
If any of your FDCPA rights were violated or if you want to find out if your rights were violated, visit www.FDCPAlaw.net for a free, no obligation case evaluation by one of our experienced consumer rights attorneys. For the overwhelming majority of consumers, there is no out-of-pocket or upfront attorney’s fees or costs to them.