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Debt collector seeks $275 for $75 outstanding bill

Sometimes, small mistakes can turn out to cause significant damage to a consumer's credit. Every time a creditor sells an unpaid debt to another collection agency -- which is quite common -- it may show as a separate debt on the individual's credit report. Consumers in Ohio must know their rights, including what behavior of a debt collector is illegal.

An example is a social media post that recently went viral and indicates how vulnerable uninformed consumers can be. The individual claimed to have canceled all relevant services upon relocation but overlooked a garbage collection service charging $25 per month. That bill accumulated and when it reached $75, the service provider sold the debt to a third party. The consumer received a phone call from this party, claiming payment of $275; when she hesitated, the collector dropped the amount to $140.

With the claim still almost double the actual debt, the consumer exercised her rights and demanded the company name and physical address of the debt collector along with the amount of the debt, and 30 days to have the debt validated and verified. She sent her written request for validation to the provided address, only to receive it back a week later as undelivered. After some time she received one more call, threatening -- in foul language -- to damage her credit history if she did not pay up that day.

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act protects consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection tactics. Any Ohio resident who is a victim of such abuse is free to take legal action against the debt collector. A consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide information on available legal options. A lawyer can provide support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings that may follow.

Source: finance.yahoo.com, "How to get the debt collector to pay you", Ethan Wolff-Mann, Nov. 21, 2016

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