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Dealing with Choice Recovery Inc? Here’s How to Fight Back

You’re not alone if you’ve received calls or letters from Choice Recovery Inc – they’re a major debt collection agency that buys up old debts and aggressively pursues repayment. But don’t panic; you have rights under the law, and there are smart ways to handle this situation.

Understanding Your Debt and Choice Recovery

First things first – let’s get some context on Choice Recovery Inc and the debt they’re trying to collect:Choice Recovery is a debt buyer, which means they purchase old, defaulted debts from original creditors for pennies on the dollar. Their business model relies on getting you to pay back the full amount, even though they only paid a tiny fraction of that.For example, if you had an unpaid $5,000 credit card balance, the original bank might sell that debt to Choice for just $500 or less. Choice would then go after you for the whole $5,000 – a tidy profit if they can force you to pay up.This shady practice is completely legal, but it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to pay Choice a cent over what you actually owed the original creditor. In fact, you may have solid defenses to get the debt reduced or dismissed entirely.

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A Dose of Reality

Let’s be real here – dealing with debt collectors like Choice Recovery flat-out sucks. The constant calls, letters filled with legalese, threats of lawsuits – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.But sticking your head in the sand won’t make this go away. Choice Recovery has a whole team of pit bulls whose job is to bully people into paying, even through unethical tactics. Ignoring them usually just makes things worse down the line.The smart move? Get educated on your rights and options for fighting back. With the right approach, you can shut down Choice Recovery’s harassment and quite possibly get the debt reduced or wiped out entirely.

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

As a consumer, you’re protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that prohibits debt collectors like Choice Recovery from using abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices.Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are NOT allowed to:

  • Call you before 8am or after 9pm
  • Contact you at work if you’ve told them not to
  • Threaten violence or use profane language
  • Lie about the amount you owe or their authority
  • Discuss your debt with others without your consent
  • Call you repeatedly with the intent to annoy or harass

If Choice Recovery violates any of these rules, you may be able to sue them in federal court and recover statutory damages up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.But the FDCPA protects you in other important ways too. For example, within five days of first contacting you, Choice must send a written debt validation notice with details like the creditor’s name, amount owed, and your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.If you dispute the debt in writing during that 30-day window, Choice has to provide verification before trying to collect further. And if they can’t verify the debt is yours or the amount is accurate, they’re legally obligated to stop collection efforts.Here’s a sample debt validation letter you can send to force Choice Recovery to prove their case. Don’t skip this crucial step – it’s one of your most powerful rights under the FDCPA.

Statute of Limitations: An Overlooked Defense

Another potential defense against Choice Recovery? The statute of limitations on your debt may have already expired.The statute of limitations is a law that limits how long a creditor or debt collector has to sue you over an unpaid debt. Once that time period runs out, the debt is considered “time-barred” and the collector can’t take you to court over it.The statute of limitations varies by state and type of debt, but it’s typically between 3-6 years for things like credit cards, medical bills, and other consumer debts. The clock usually starts from your last payment on the account.So for example, if you last made a payment on a credit card in January 2015, and your state has a 4-year statute of limitations on credit card debt, that debt would become time-barred in January 2019. After that, a debt collector can still try to get you to pay voluntarily, but they can’t sue you or threaten legal action.Check your state’s statute of limitations and calculate whether Choice Recovery’s debt is time-barred. If so, you can demand they stop all collection efforts by citing the expired statute.Just be careful – making even a small payment on old debt can restart the clock on the statute of limitations. So don’t acknowledge or pay anything until you verify the debt’s age and legal status.

Debt Validation: Poking Holes in Choice Recovery’s Case

Remember that debt validation letter we mentioned earlier? Sending that is crucial, because it forces Choice Recovery to provide solid proof that:

  1. The debt is really yours
  2. The amount they’re trying to collect is accurate
  3. They have the legal authority to collect the debt

If Choice Recovery can’t validate those three things, you have great leverage to get them to back off or accept a reduced settlement.Why? Because under the FDCPA, debt collectors can’t just pull numbers out of thin air. Their records have to show a clear chain of title from the original creditor to Choice Recovery, with accurate bookkeeping of payments, interest, and fees along the way.In reality, debts often get bought and resold many times, with records getting jumbled or lost in the process. Creditors also routinely tack on shady fees that they have no legal basis to collect.So when you demand debt validation, there’s a decent chance Choice Recovery’s paperwork will be a mess – giving you grounds to dispute the whole thing as inaccurate or unverified.

Negotiating a Settlement with Choice Recovery

If the debt is valid and not time-barred, your next option is trying to settle with Choice Recovery for less than the full balance. After all, they bought your debt for cheap, so they may be willing to accept a lump sum settlement and still make a tidy profit.The key is being strategic in your settlement negotiations. Don’t just blurt out a lowball number – Choice Recovery will laugh you off the phone. Instead, do your homework:

  • Figure out your state’s “statute of limitations” laws on how old the debt is. If it’s getting close to that deadline, Choice Recovery may be motivated to settle while they still can.
  • Research Choice Recovery’s patterns for settling similar debts. Sites like Reddit and consumer complaint forums can give you a ballpark idea of what they typically accept.
  • Get your full financial documentation in order – pay stubs, bank statements, lists of other debts and expenses. The more proof you can show of your inability to pay the full amount, the stronger your case for settlement.

When you’re ready to negotiate, you can either go through Choice Recovery directly or hire a debt settlement firm to represent you. Just be cautious with debt settlers – some are more reputable than others.Either way, the basic approach is making a reasonable settlement offer based on what you can realistically afford to pay. Don’t let Choice Recovery bully you, but don’t lowball them to an insulting degree either.If your documentation shows you’re tapped out and the debt is getting stale, Choice may accept 25-40% of the balance just to get something rather than nothing. But be prepared to negotiate firmly.One last tip: Get any settlement agreement in writing from Choice Recovery before you pay a dime. That way there’s no confusion later about the debt being paid off in full for the agreed amount.

When to Seek Legal Counsel

While it’s possible to negotiate with debt collectors like Choice Recovery on your own, having an experienced consumer lawyer in your corner provides a huge advantage.For one, simply being represented by an attorney puts you in a stronger legal position. The FDCPA requires debt collectors to deal directly with your lawyer once they’re aware of the representation.Your lawyer can also force Choice Recovery to provide full documentation and proof of the debt’s validity. If their records are a mess or they can’t validate anything, your lawyer can seek dismissal of the debt on those grounds.Attorneys know all the laws and legal strategies for challenging Choice Recovery – things like statutes of limitations, violations of the FDCPA, errors in the creditors’ records, and more. They’ll explore every possible defense to reduce what you owe or get it wiped out entirely.If Choice Recovery violates your rights or refuses to provide verification, your lawyer can take them to court and potentially win statutory damages and legal fees from the collector.The downside, of course, is that hiring a consumer lawyer means paying legal fees, which can be expensive depending on the complexity of your case. But for many consumers, it’s worth the investment to have an expert fighter in your corner against a ruthless debt collector.

Deciding Whether to Pay or Fight Choice Recovery

So how do you determine the best approach for dealing with Choice Recovery’s debt collection efforts? Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Age of the Debt: If the statute of limitations has already expired, you’re in a strong position to demand Choice Recovery stop all collection efforts on a time-barred debt. Don’t make any payments, as that could reset the clock.
  • Ability to Validate: If Choice Recovery can’t provide proper debt validation after you request it, you have grounds to dispute the debt as inaccurate or unverified. Their case may crumble if their records are a mess.
  • Your Finances: If you legitimately can’t afford the full balance, it’s worth trying to negotiate a settlement for a percentage you can manage. Just be strategic and get any deal in writing first.
  • FDCPA Violations: If Choice Recovery has clearly violated debt collection laws like the FDCPA through harassment or deception, you may have a case to get the debt dismissed and potentially sue them.
  • Risk of Being Sued: If the debt is legitimate and you simply can’t pay, getting sued in court is a real risk. Having a lawyer defend you could neutralize that threat.

The bottom line: Don’t just roll over and pay Choice Recovery if you have valid defenses or negotiating leverage. But also don’t ignore things and let the situation escalate if the debt appears legally collectable.By understanding your rights, using smart tactics, and deciding whether to fight or settle based on your specific circumstances, you can resolve the Choice Recovery debt in the most advantageous way possible.

When Bankruptcy May Be the Best Option

For some consumers deep in the debt hole, bankruptcy could be a better solution than trying to negotiate with collectors like Choice Recovery. It’s not an easy choice, but it allows you to get a fresh financial start by discharging debts you can’t realistically pay.There are two main types of personal bankruptcy:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a “straight bankruptcy” that wipes out all eligible debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, utility bills, and some tax debts and legal judgments. You may have to surrender some assets, but most people can keep essentials like clothing, household goods, and retirement accounts.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a “reorganization bankruptcy” that allows you to keep assets, but you must repay some debts through a 3-5 year court-approved repayment plan. This is an option if your income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7.

Both types of bankruptcy stop debt collectors like Choice Recovery in their tracks through the “automatic stay” that prevents any further collection actions. And at the end of the bankruptcy process, any remaining eligible debts are permanently discharged.Of course, bankruptcy has major downsides – it obliterates your credit for 7-10 years, you may have to surrender assets or repay some debts, and it creates a public record of your financial troubles. It’s not a decision to take lightly.But for consumers who are judgment proof (meaning they have no assets or income for collectors to legally seize), bankruptcy can provide the fresh start and relief they desperately need. Just be sure to consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney to understand the full implications.

The Bottom Line on Dealing with Choice Recovery

No one wants to deal with aggressive debt collectors like Choice Recovery Inc. But by knowing your rights and all your possible defenses, you can take control of the situation and reach the best possible resolution.The key things to remember:

  • You have rights under the FDCPA that Choice Recovery must follow
  • Demand debt validation and don’t ignore statutes of limitations
  • Negotiate strategically if you have grounds for settlement
  • Hire an attorney if you need expert legal representation
  • Consider bankruptcy if your debts are overwhelming

Don’t let Choice Recovery or any debt collector bully or mislead you. With the right knowledge and tactics, you can fight back and put this stressful situation behind you for good.

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