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 I am a lawyer.  But, I am not your lawyer until and unless we enter into a written retainer agreement. 

The purpose of this website is to provide general information for educational purposes, not to give specific advise to your situation.  Every case, and every client, is different.  Every case involves disputed issues of fact as well as disputes regarding the interpretation and application of legal authority.  At a trial witnesses may testify differently, and with a different degrees of credibility.  There are exceptions and qualifications to each of the legal principles outlined here.  Furthermore, we cannot promise that this information is up to date, as this field of law is constantly changing.  We can make no guarantee or representation as to the accuracy of the information or its application to any individual case.  Therefore, do further legal research before relying on anything stated here.  You should seek, and pay for, a consultation with an attorney if your situation is serious.  



Does a debt collector make unusually harassing telephone calls?  Unusually harassing telephone calls and misrepresentations violate 15 U.S.C. 1692d and California’s Rosenthal Act, Civil Code section 1788.11(e)

Does the collection agency continue to call you you after you make a written request that the collector stop calling and writing?  If you send a letter, the collector may send one last letter to confirm that you do not want to receive any further communications. Then the collector must either file a lawsuit or forget it.  15 .S.C. 1692c(c) and California Civil Code 1788.17.  

Does the collection agency telephone you innumerable times each day.  Telephoning with such frequency as to be “unreasonable” violates California Civil Code 1788.1(e) and 15 U.S.C. 1692d.  In Harrison v Fed. Pacific Credit Co. the court found that weekly telephone calls over a period of 14 months, was a violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692d(5). 

Does the debt collector call your neighbors, friends or relatives?  Do the debt collector say, or imply, when speaking to anyone other than you or your spouse, that he/she trying to collect a debt? 

Does the debt collector call you at work?  Have you told the debt collector that your employer does not allow you to receive such calls when you are at work? 

Does the debt collector say he/she is conducting a “financial investigation” or that he/she is trying to “verify” some information? 

Does the debt collector imply that he/she is a government prosecutor?  Does he/she say that he/she is conduction an investigation regarding possession of stolen property?  Does he/she accuse you of obtaining merchandise by using your credit card and then not paying the bill?  Does he/she imply that not paying the credit card bill is theft?  Does he/she say that unless you resolve this matter today, the Sheriff will go to your place of work tomorrow and serve you with a Summons to go to court?  Does he/she say that the only way to avoid going to court is to authorize an electronic debit from your bank account, today?


Does the debt collector call your neighbors and ask them to go to your house to tell you to call the debt collector right away?  Does the debt collector call your co-workers at work, tell them that they are investigating a possession of stolen property case and that you must call the debt collector right away?


Does the debt collector say that he/she is calling from a lawyer’s office?  Does the debt collector threaten to sue you, to garnish wages or to immediately attach your bank account unless you pay today?  Does the debt collector say that the account is being forwarded to the legal department or to a lawyer with instructions to file suit if you do not arrange to allow the debt collector to drain your bank account today?  Does the debt collector say that unless you authorize an electronic withdrawal from your bank account right now, the Sheriff will come to your place of work tomorrow to “summon” you to court and that your next paycheck will be garnished?  A threat to file a lawsuit  is unlawful conduct unless it comes from an attorney who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and who has personally reviewed the case.  Civil Code section 1788.13(j), 15 U.S.C. 1692e(3), 15 U.S.C. 1692e(5) and 15 U.S.C. 1692e(10).  See Irwin v Mascott, 112 F.Supp.2d 937.


A Summons in a civil lawsuit means that your will have 30 days to file an Answer with the court clerk.  After you file your Answer (or other pleading), the court will schedule a trial date, usually at least 6 months in the future.  If you do not file an Answer within 30 days, the creditor can seek a default judgment against you.  Only after a judgment is entered can the creditor seek to garnish your wages.  In most cases, a wage garnishment can be no more than 25% of your wages, and you must be left with sufficient income to pay for the “necessities of life.”


Does the debt collector say that if you pay, negative information will be erased from your credit report?


Does the debt collector say that reporting a payment as a “debt settlement” will improve your credit score?