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Capital Collections Debt Collector Relief: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Capital Collections?

Capital Collections is a debt collection agency; that specializes in purchasing and collecting on delinquent consumer debts. They buy up unpaid debts from creditors – like credit card companies, medical providers, and more – then try to collect the full amount (plus fees) from the original debtors.If you’ve been contacted by Capital Collections about an old debt, you’re not alone. This company is known for its aggressive tactics in pursuing repayment – even on debts that are years or decades old. But don’t panic; you have rights under federal law, and there are steps you can take to deal with Capital Collections properly.

Understanding Your Rights as a Debtor

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that prohibits debt collectors like Capital Collections from using abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices when trying to collect a debt. Some key protections under the FDCPA include:

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  • Debt collectors cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm
  • They cannot use profane language or threaten violence
  • They must stop contacting you if you send a written request (more on this later)
  • They cannot discuss your debt with third parties, except to get location information
  • They must identify themselves as debt collectors in all communications

If Capital Collections violates the FDCPA in their dealings with you, you may be able to sue them in federal court. More on that in a bit.

Validating the Debt

One of the most important steps when dealing with any debt collector is to validate the debt they are trying to collect. Under the FDCPA, you have 30 days from the initial contact to send Capital Collections a debt validation letter requesting proof that:

  • The debt is yours
  • The amount they are trying to collect is accurate
  • Their representation of the creditor is legitimate

Capital Collections must then provide validation documents like account statements, records of the original debt, and proof of their legal authority to collect it. If they cannot validate, they have to cease collection efforts on that debt.Many debts collected by agencies like Capital Collections are so old or have changed hands so many times that proper documentation is very difficult to obtain. Forcing them to validate gives you leverage.

Negotiating a Settlement with Capital Collections

If the debt is validated, your next step is to try negotiating a settlement for less than the full amount owed. Collection agencies like Capital Collections buy debts for pennies on the dollar, so they have room to settle if it means collecting something.Some tips for negotiating with Capital Collections:

  • Ask them to provide a concrete settlement percentage and payment plan upfront
  • Get any settlement agreement details in writing before making a payment
  • Negotiate to have the settled debt reported as “paid in full” on your credit report
  • Consider making a “lump sum” settlement offer you can afford to pay immediately
  • Don’t give them access to your bank accounts or debit cards

If you cannot afford to pay a lump sum, be very cautious about setting up a payment plan. Make sure the total settlement amount and all terms are crystal clear before making any payments.

When to Seek Professional Help

For many people, negotiating with aggressive debt collectors is extremely stressful. If Capital Collections refuses to work with you in good faith, or if the debt is legitimately not yours, it may be wise to seek help from a professional debt relief attorney or credit repair service.Services like Creditrepair.comLexington Law, and the National Consumer Law Center can help you enforce your rights and get Capital Collections off your back – for a fee. But it can be money well spent to resolve the situation.There are also nonprofit credit counseling agencies that provide debt management plans and negotiation assistance for free if you qualify based on your income level.

Stopping Contact from Capital Collections

Even if you cannot settle or pay the debt, you always have the right under the FDCPA to demand that Capital Collections stop contacting you. To invoke this right, you must send them a “cease and desist” letter via certified mail with return receipt requested.In the letter, simply state that you are demanding they stop all further communication with you, and that any violation will result in legal action. Once Capital Collections receives this letter, they are legally required to stop contacting you about that debt – with a few exceptions for legal notifications.Keep in mind that sending a cease and desist letter does not make the debt go away. The creditor can still potentially take other actions like filing a lawsuit. But it does stop the harassing phone calls and letters from Capital Collections.

Dealing with Violations and Harassment

If Capital Collections violates the FDCPA by continuing to contact you after receiving a cease and desist notice, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against them in federal court under the FDCPA. Potential damages can include:

  • Actual damages for things like lost wages, medical bills, etc. caused by the violations
  • Up to $1,000 in additional statutory damages
  • Payment of your attorney fees and court costs

The FDCPA also allows you to report violations to the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s attorney general office. These agencies can take action against abusive debt collectors.You can find more information on how to report FDCPA violations on the FTC website.

Statute of Limitations on Old Debts

One very important consideration with debts collected by Capital Collections is whether the statute of limitations has expired. Each state has its own statute of limitations that determines how long a creditor has to file a lawsuit over an unpaid debt.For example, in New York the statute of limitations is 6 years from the date of your last payment or account activity. In California it’s 4 years, and in Kentucky it’s 15 years.If the statute of limitations has expired on your debt, Capital Collections cannot legally sue you over it. And if they try to trick you into re-activating the debt with a new payment, that could open them up to an FDCPA violation claim.You can check your state’s statute of limitations for different debt types on sites like Nolo.com and Bankrate.com. If your debt is past the SOL, you may want to consult an attorney about sending Capital Collections a letter invoking your rights.

Repairing Your Credit After Paying Capital Collections

If you do end up settling or paying off a debt with Capital Collections, it’s important to get the debt correctly reported on your credit report as “paid in full” or “settled.” An inaccurate report could continue damaging your credit score.You’ll want to get a pay-for-deletion agreement with Capital Collections in writing, stating that they will request removal of the negative debt item from your credit reports after you’ve paid per the agreement.If they don’t follow through after you’ve held up your end, you can file a credit report dispute with the three major bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Provide evidence of your payment and Capital Collections’ agreement to have it removed.The credit bureaus are required to investigate your dispute and remove any inaccurate or unverifiable negative information from your reports. This process can take some persistence, but it’s important for improving your credit after resolving a debt.

Taking Legal Action Against Capital Collections

If Capital Collections has violated your rights under the FDCPA through harassment, deception, or illegal practices, you may want to consult a consumer protection attorney about filing a lawsuit.Potential legal claims could include:

  • FDCPA violations for things like illegal contact, false statements, unfair practices
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act violations for inaccurate credit reporting
  • State debt collection law violations, which vary by state
  • Violations of state consumer protection statutes

In successful FDCPA lawsuits, debtors can recover actual damages like lost wages or medical bills, plus up to $1,000 in statutory damages per violation. The debt collector may also have to pay your attorney fees and court costs.You can find a qualified consumer law attorney through resources like:

Many consumer law firms take these types of cases on contingency, meaning you don’t pay unless they win or settle your case successfully.

Avoiding Future Debt Collection Issues

Of course, the best way to avoid harassment from debt collectors like Capital Collections is to be proactive about managing your finances and paying your bills on time. But life happens, and sometimes debts can spiral out of control due to job loss, medical issues, divorce, and other circumstances.If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt, don’t wait until it goes to collections. Reach out to your creditors proactively to try negotiating interest rate reductions, debt consolidation, or workout agreements. Seek help from a non-profit credit counseling agency if needed.You can find reputable credit counseling services through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.Rebuilding your credit and finances takes time and discipline, but it’s worth it to avoid the stress and potential legal issues caused by debt collectors. With some effort, you can get out from under that debt cloud and move forward.

Key Takeaways

Dealing with aggressive debt collectors like Capital Collections is never fun, but you do have rights as a consumer. Here are some key takeaways:

  • You can demand debt validation within 30 days of first contact
  • Try negotiating to settle for less than the full amount owed
  • Send a cease and desist letter to stop contact if needed
  • Be aware of your state’s statute of limitations on old debts
  • Repair your credit by getting settled debts reported correctly
  • Consider legal action if your rights are violated
  • Work on rebuilding your finances to avoid future debt issues

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