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Consumer Law

Communications When Debt Is Not Owed

North Carolina state law and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibit attempts to collect debt when the debt is not owed; whether the debt has been paid off in full, discharged by bankruptcy, or if you are being harassed with calls when debt is owed by a different person such as a significant other or a family member.

Similarly, creditors and collection agencies cannot mischaracterize the amount of the debt. Creditors and debt collectors cannot assess late fees, interest, or penalties which they are not entitled to collect. Collection agencies cannot have inaccurate records that fail to identify a payment that has been made. Simply put, if creditors and collection agencies are going to contact you with letters, phone calls, text messages, emails, or in any other fashion: you must actually owe the debt and the amount that they seek to collect must be accurate.

In North Carolina, this is not always limited to consumer debt. Collection agencies cannot mischaracterize the amount or status of business debt (creditors attempting to collect their own business debt are not subject to state unfair debt collection laws).

If you are receiving communications where the debt is not owed or the amount claimed is inaccurate, it is important to save all communications that you receive. Do not throw away letters or delete emails and get a copy of your phone records to reflect the number of times that these creditors are contacting you. North Carolina’s protections against debt collectors and collection agencies provide for damages on a “per violation” basis, meaning that every letter or phone call can be a separate violation which allows for separate damages. It is important for consumers to save those communications that show violations in order to protect their rights.

If you reside anywhere in North Carolina have experienced a creditor, debt collector, or collection agency contacting you when you don’t owe the debt or the amount claimed, Maginnis Law may be able to help you.