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The Ultimate Guide to Handling CMRE Financial Services Debt Collectors

But, take a deep breath. We get it, dealing with debt collectors is stressful. Especially when it’s a big name like CMRE Financial Services hounding you. But, you don’t have to face them alone.

We’re Spodek Law Group, an elite team of criminal defense attorneys. And while debt collection may not be a crime, we know all the laws and tactics to fight back against shady collector practices.

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So, let’s dive into everything you need to know about this debt collector and how to tackle them head-on. We’ll cover:

  • Who CMRE Financial Services is and how they operate
  • Your rights when dealing with debt collectors
  • Step-by-step guides for handling CMRE
  • Options if they violate debt collection laws
  • And more

By the end, you’ll be an expert on standing up to CMRE Financial Services. Let’s get started.

The 411 on CMRE Financial Services

First things first, who exactly is this debt collector you’re dealing with? CMRE Financial Services is a medium-sized agency that specializes in collecting unpaid medical debts. They go after bills from hospitals, ambulance services, dental offices, you name it.

A few key facts about CMRE:

  • Headquartered in Brea, California
  • Founded in 1996
  • Over 1,000 complaints filed against them with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Known for aggressive tactics like incessant calls and failing to validate debts properly

So in other words, they’re a typical debt collector – doing everything they can to squeeze money out of consumers, even if it means skirting laws and ethics. Sound familiar?

But, you have rights and power in this situation. Which brings us to…

Know Your Rights: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Dealing with debt collectors is extremely regulated under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law lays out strict rules that agencies like CMRE must follow.

Some key consumer protections under the FDCPA include:

  • Debt collectors can’t harass or abuse you with tactics like…
    • Calling repeatedly to annoy you
    • Using profane or abusive language
    • Threatening violence or harm
  • They must be honest and not misrepresent the debt amount, consequences of not paying, etc.
  • You can demand they stop contacting you by sending a written request
  • They must provide debt validation if you request it within 30 days
  • Calling before 8am or after 9pm is prohibited
  • They can’t discuss your debt with others, except to get location information

So in essence, the FDCPA prevents CMRE from using underhanded, abusive tactics to bully you into paying. Knowing these rights is half the battle.

But, CMRE has been known to violate the FDCPA repeatedly. If they do, you may be able to sue them for damages. More on that later.

Step 1: Request Debt Validation from CMRE

The first step when dealing with any debt collector is to request full debt validation. This forces them to provide evidence that:

  • The debt is really yours
  • The amount they say you owe is accurate
  • They have the legal authority to collect the debt

Under the FDCPA, CMRE must send you a debt validation notice within 5 days of first contacting you about the debt. But, they often “forget” to do this or provide incomplete information.

So, send them a debt validation letter immediately to get full details. Here’s a sample template:

“This is a formal debt validation request for the alleged debt you are trying to collect. Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, please provide the following:

  • Evidence that I am the person who owes this debt
  • The name and address of the original creditor
  • An itemized accounting of the alleged debt amount, including all fees
  • Verification that this debt is within the statute of limitations for collection
  • A copy of the contract or agreement that created the original debt

Please provide the requested validation within 30 days, as required by law. I will not discuss this debt or make any payments until you provide complete validation.

Send this certified mail, with return receipt requested. This creates a paper trail showing you disputed the debt within the 30-day window required by the FDCPA.

From here, CMRE has a few options:

  • They provide complete debt validation, in which case you’ll need to decide how to handle the legitimate debt
  • They don’t respond at all, which means they violated the FDCPA and you can take further action
  • They provide incomplete or suspicious documentation, which you can then dispute

No matter what, requesting full debt validation is crucial. It prevents CMRE from continuing collection efforts until they prove the debt is really yours.

Step 2: Carefully Review Any Debt Validation CMRE Provides

So CMRE responded to your debt validation letter with some documentation about the alleged debt. Don’t just take their word for it – scrutinize it carefully.

A few red flags to watch out for:

  • The name or personal details don’t match you exactly
  • The debt amount seems inflated with excessive fees
  • The statute of limitations for collecting the debt has expired
  • The documentation is incomplete or has errors/inconsistencies

If anything seems off, you’ll want to send CMRE a debt validation dispute letter within 30 days. Outline exactly why you believe their information is inaccurate or incomplete.

For example:

“I am disputing the debt you are attempting to collect for the following reasons:

  1. The documentation shows the debt was incurred in 2015, which exceeds the 6-year statute of limitations in our state.
  2. The total debt amount of $5,678 appears to include excessive interest, fees, and charges not outlined in the original creditor agreement you provided.
  3. The name and address on your documentation does not match my identity exactly.

As the alleged debt appears to be outside the legal timeframe for collection and contains inaccurate information, I formally dispute the validation you provided. Please correct the inaccuracies or provide additional documentation, as required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

By disputing the debt in writing, you prevent CMRE from continuing collection efforts until they can provide proper validation. This buys you more time and puts the pressure back on them.

If their documentation does check out after your review, you’ll need to decide how to handle the legitimate debt. We’ll cover some options for that shortly.

Step 3: Understand Your Options for Handling the Debt

So let’s say CMRE eventually provides full, accurate debt validation that holds up to scrutiny. You’re on the hook for this debt, unfortunately. But you still have options besides just paying the full amount.

A few common routes to explore:

Negotiate a Settlement
Most debt collectors like CMRE purchase debts for pennies on the dollar. So they have room to accept a lump-sum settlement that’s less than the full balance.

Start negotiating by offering to pay 25% of the debt. CMRE will likely counter higher, but you can usually settle for 40-60% of the total. Just get any settlement agreement in writing first.

Ask for a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
In addition to settling for less, you can also request that CMRE remove the debt from your credit reports once it’s paid off. This is huge for avoiding long-term credit score damage.

The agreement should state that after you make the final settlement payment, CMRE must update the credit bureaus to remove the debt from your reports. Get this in writing!

Set Up a Payment Plan
If you can’t afford to pay a lump sum settlement, ask CMRE about a payment plan with affordable monthly installments. Debt collectors would rather get paid over time than not at all.

Just be sure you can truly afford the monthly payment before agreeing. Missed payments could restart the harassment and threats.

File for Bankruptcy
For overwhelming debt burdens, bankruptcy may be the best solution. This allows you to discharge or restructure debts like the one CMRE is collecting on.

The downside is a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7-10 years. But it gives you a fresh start and stops collectors like CMRE in their tracks.

No matter which option you choose, get all agreements in writing from CMRE before making any payments. This prevents future issues where they don’t hold up their end of the deal.

When to Hire a Professional Debt Settlement Company

Dealing with CMRE and negotiating a resolution can be extremely stressful and time-consuming. Especially if they are using aggressive, harassing tactics against you.

In cases like these, it may be worth hiring a professional debt settlement company to handle the negotiations for you. They are experts in this process and can take the burden off your shoulders.

One of the top companies is Lexington Law. They know exactly how to communicate with debt collectors, enforce consumer protection laws, and get debts resolved favorably.

While you’ll pay a fee for their services, it provides peace of mind and increases the chances of a successful debt settlement. Definitely something to consider if CMRE is making your life miserable.

Taking Legal Action Against CMRE Financial Services

We’ve covered how to properly dispute and validate the debt with CMRE. But what if they continually violate debt collection laws like the FDCPA? You may have grounds to take legal action.

Some common FDCPA violations by debt collectors include:

  • Harassing you with repeated calls and abusive language
  • Lying about the debt amount, consequences of not paying, etc.
  • Discussing the debt with unauthorized third parties
  • Continuing collection efforts after you send a cease communication letter

If CMRE does any of these, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state’s attorney general office. You should also consult with a consumer protection lawyer.

In many cases, you can sue CMRE in federal court for FDCPA violations. If you win, you could receive $1,000 in statutory damages plus actual damages like emotional distress or financial losses.

The threat of a lawsuit is often enough to get CMRE to back off and resolve the debt properly. But you need to be prepared to follow through if they continue with illegal collection conduct.

How to Stop CMRE From Contacting You Entirely

Even after sending a debt validation request or dispute, CMRE may continue calling and sending letters about the debt. This is extremely stressful and potentially illegal harassment.

The solution? Send them a cease and desist letter demanding they stop all communication with you immediately.

Here’s a sample template you can use:

“I hereby revoke any prior express consent to call my cellular telephone number or any other number I may be reached at. I am making this revocation pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227.I am also demanding that you immediately cease all other communication with me, including emails, letters, and any other attempts to collect this debt, pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you fail to adhere to this cease and desist notice, I will pursue all available legal remedies, including filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and my state’s attorney general. I will also consult with a consumer protection lawyer about filing a civil lawsuit against your agency.

This is my final warning. Any further contact from you regarding this debt after you receive this letter will be considered intentional harassment and a willful violation of federal law.

Send this certified mail to create a paper trail. CMRE is then legally required to stop all communication about the debt, aside from specific exceptions like confirming they received the letter.

If they violate the cease and desist notice, you have very strong grounds to sue them for FDCPA violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

So while sending this letter cuts off further negotiation, it’s sometimes necessary as a last resort to stop the harassment from CMRE once and for all.

Removing CMRE From Your Credit Reports

Even if you pay off or settle the debt with CMRE, the collection account can remain on your credit reports for up to 7 years. This negative mark can severely damage your credit scores.

The best solution is to negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement, as mentioned earlier. CMRE agrees to remove the collection account from your credit reports in exchange for your final payment.

But what if they refuse to do a pay-for-delete? Or if they agreed but then don’t follow through on removing the account?

You’ll need to initiate a credit report dispute with the three major credit bureaus:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Explain that the CMRE collection account was paid/settled and should be removed from your reports per the FDCPA and credit reporting laws. Provide any documentation or evidence you have.

The credit bureaus must then investigate and remove any inaccurate, unverified, or obsolete information from your reports. If they refuse, you can escalate by filing complaints with the CFPB and FTC.

It’s a hassle, but worth doing to finally get that CMRE account off your credit for good. Just be persistent and don’t take no for an answer from the credit bureaus.

The Bottom Line on Dealing With CMRE Financial Services

Look, no one wants to deal with aggressive debt collectors like CMRE Financial Services. But knowing your rights and taking the proper steps can make the process much easier.

To recap the key points:

  • Always request debt validation first before acknowledging any debt
  • Scrutinize any validation CMRE provides for errors or inaccuracies
  • Negotiate a settlement or payment plan you can truly afford
  • Get any agreements in writing, especially pay-for-delete terms
  • Understand when to escalate by sending cease and desist letters
  • Be prepared to take legal action if CMRE violates debt collection laws
  • Dispute any paid/settled debts that remain on your credit reports

It’s a lot to take in, but you don’t have to go through this alone. Hiring a professional debt settlement firm or even a consumer lawyer can take this burden off your shoulders.

The most important thing? Don’t let CMRE Financial Services bully or harass you. Stand up for your consumer rights and they’ll be forced to play by the rules. You’ve got this!

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