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Debt Collectors Usage of Form Template Letters with False Threats


Maginnis Howard continues working for clients against unscrupulous debt collection practices in direct violation of debt collection regulation both at the state and federal level. This time, we are proceeding with the investigation and filing of lawsuits against a common intimidation tactic of sending template letters from creditors to debtors when said letters include false threats relating to foreclosures, garnishment of wages, repossession, and filing of lawsuits against debtors, practices which are often inconsistent with their policies.

It is a common misconception that the many debt collection regulations in place to protect consumers, both statewide and federally, cover only the actions of debt collection agencies. This misconception is frequently used by other parties, such as landlords, banks, credit card companies and other lenders, such as automotive and short-term loans to harass and intimidate consumers into paying, preying on the average consumer’s lack of awareness of the full extent of protections afforded to debtors by the regulations in place.

It is often difficult for a consumer to feel completely certain of what is or is not legal when faced with a collections process, and it is not uncommon to ‘play it safe’ and acquiesce to said tactics in fear of incurring monetary penalties or the actions threatened in template letters. In reality, it is important to be aware that regardless of the creditor’s identity and legal standing, there are many rules which they must follow when attempting to collect on due payments. Our firm is happy to review any letters you’ve received for free and let you know if the debt collectors or collection agencies are staying within the confines of the law.


  • Failing to accurately identify themselves.
  • Calling outside business hours, especially late nights or early mornings.
  • Willfully misleading a debtor regarding the collector’s ability and/or intent to file lawsuits, garnish wages, initiate foreclosure proceedings, or acting past the state’s statute of limitations (typically three years in North Carolina).
  • Willfully misrepresenting deadlines, exact amounts, interest rates, hidden costs, and penalties.
    Threatening to or actually attempting to file lawsuits or obtain judgements outside the debtor’s county of residence.
  • Attempting to tack on any and all charges not expressly specified in the original contract, be they late fees, hidden charges, additional interest or even misrepresenting the exact amount owed.
  • Sharing of debtor’s information with unauthorized third parties.

Template letters are one of the most common practices for collectors attempting to obtain a quick payday and can be just as effective as the more usual method of telephonic harassment.


Maginnis Law recently filed a class action lawsuit against Seterus Inc. for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for their use of template letters to misrepresent collection terms, including but not limited to, the usage of a “Final Notice”, threatening foreclosure after a misleading “grace period”, misrepresentation of Seterus Inc.’s intentions to proceed legally against the plaintiff, as well as incorrect labeling of the debt as delinquent as soon as the debt portfolio was acquired by them.

Our firm also recently received preliminary approval to be class counsel for a North Carolina class action in which the collection agency agreed to pay $1.2M (approximately $100 per class member) to resolve their debt collection violations.

If you have recently been on the receiving end of a template letter from a creditor threatening action beyond the scope of the original credit terms, or if any of the previously mentioned points applies to a debt collections process you are currently undergoing or have undergone in the past, the experienced consumer rights attorneys at Maginnis Howard are here to protect your rights and uphold the protections afforded to you by the FDCPA.  We will review your debt collection letters at no cost to you and let you know if you have a claim. Resolutions of these claims can also be of assistance in resolving any debts that you do actually owe.

Talk to an attorney at Maginnis Howard today to receive a free case review and determine the best way to protect your interests. Use our contact form and one of our attorneys will get back to you shortly.

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