What is a consumer credit collections case?
The term "consumer credit transaction" means a transaction wherein credit is extended to an individual and the money, property, or service which is the subject of the transaction is primarily for personal, family or household purposes. This is typically for credit cards, however, can also be extended to auto loans, personal loans, and other personal credit.
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)
- The FDCPA was created to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors. It prohibits deceptive, abusive, or unfair collection practices.
- Process servers are not considered “debt collectors” and are exempted from the FDCPA, however, process servers must still follow certain FDCPA guidelines.
- We will go over some general guidelines here, however, you should always defer to the attorney or agency that sent you the work for specific guidance.
- It is important for process servers to always be professional, however, it is of paramount importance when serving debt collection files.
- Process servers must not use profanity or engage in any behavior that could be construed as harassment.
- Collections files must not be attempted before 8 AM or after 9 PM.
- Collections files must not be attempted at a business address or place of employment unless specifically authorized by the attorney. If you are permitted, service at a place of employment should be done by personal delivery only.
- You must always use GPS photographs for collections services.
- You must promptly notify the attorney or agency that sent you the work if you have knowledge of any actual or potential violation of the FDCPA, or receive any complaint or inquiry from a consumer, third party, or any government/law enforcement agency related to your service.
Serving Collections Files
- Collections summonses are served just like any other summons.
- They must be served within 120 days of the filing date.
- Due to the restrictions the FDCPA places on service times, the following timeframes are generally accepted for due diligence:
- 8 AM – 11 AM
- Noon – 5 PM
- 6 PM – 9 PM
- At least one of the above attempts on Saturday
- There should be at least 7-10 days between your first attempt and when you post.
- You should obtain verification of the address (i.e., neighbor or DMV) before using Nail & Mail service. However, you must limit the scope of conversation to verifying residency only and may not discuss the contents of the lawsuit.
Additional Notice of Lawsuit
- The Additional Notice of Lawsuit form must be provided to the court with your Affidavit of Service, together with a stamped unsealed envelope, addressed to the defendant at the address where the summons was served, and containing the clerk's office address in the return address.
- A default judgment cannot be entered until 20 days after the court clerk has mailed the notice to the defendant.
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