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Dealing with Northland Group Debt Collectors? Here’s How to Get Relief

You’re Not Alone – Millions Struggle with Aggressive Debt Collectors

We’ve all been there – getting those annoying calls from debt collectors, demanding payment on old bills. It can feel like harassment, and make you want to just ignore them. But that’s usually not the best approach, it can actually make things worse.The good news? You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that restrict what debt collectors can do. And there are steps you can take to make them back off, if they cross the line. Especially when it comes to shady operators like Northland Group.So don’t stress – we’ll walk through exactly what to do if Northland is hounding you. Just know upfront, you’re far from the only one dealing with their aggressive tactics. They‘re one of the biggest debt buyers out there, withover 1 million accounts purchased each year according to docketalarm.com.Tons of people have filed complaints against them with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Better Business Bureau (BBB), and on sites like Reddit and Consumer Affairs. So you‘re definitely not alone in this fight.

Who is Northland Group and Why are They Calling?

Northland Group is what’s known as a “debt buyer.” They purchase old, defaulted debts from the original creditors for pennies on the dollar, then try to collect the full amount from consumers.It’s a shady but lucrative business model. Northland and other debt buyers often use unethical, overly aggressive tactics to intimidate people into paying up. Even when the debt is past the statute of limitations, or they don‘t actually have proof you owe it.According to their website, Northland has over $2 billion in purchased receivables and operates in the U.S. and Canada. So they‘re a big player in the unsavory world of debt buying and collections.If they’re calling you, it likely means they purchased an old debt of yours from the original creditor like a credit card company, utility provider, or medical facility. Maybe you legitimately owe the debt, or maybe there are errors in what they‘re claiming – it‘s hard to say without investigating.The key thing to know is that just because Northland owns the debt doesn‘t mean you automatically have to pay them. You still have rights, and they have to follow rules under the FDCPA when trying to collect.

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Northland’s Dirty Tricks – Illegal Practices to Watch Out For

Unfortunately, Northland has a track record of deploying some pretty sketchy collection methods that violate consumer protection laws. Based on the over 500 complaints filed against them with the CFPB and BBB, here are some of their most common dirty tricks:

  • Calling incessantly at all hours: They’ll bombard you with calls early in the morning, late at night, and even after you’ve told them to stop contacting you. Repeated calls like this are considered harassment under the FDCPA.
  • Threatening arrest or legal action: Northland’s collectors often falsely claim they’ll have you arrested or sued if you don’t pay up immediately. But they can’t have you arrested over a civil debt, and legal action requires proper notice.
  • Using profane/abusive language: Complainants report Northland’s reps cursing at them, calling them derogatory names, and making threats of violence. Totally unacceptable behavior from a debt collector.
  • Failing to validate the debt: When you request debt validation as is your legal right, Northland may ignore you or provide incomplete documentation that doesn’t actually prove you owe the debt.
  • Contacting third parties: They’ve been known to call and discuss the debt with your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors – a big FDCPA no-no.
  • Misrepresenting themselves: Some say Northland’s employees misled them about the company they were calling from, or falsely claimed to be attorneys, process servers, or law enforcement.

Yikes, that‘s a lot of shady behavior for one company! It‘s no wonder they have a D- rating from the BBB and over 1,000 complaints filed against them. Clearly Northland plays pretty fast and loose with debt collection laws.

How to Get Northland Group to Stop Calling and Harassing You

So what can you do if Northland is bombarding you with calls and using any of these illegal debt collection tactics? Here are the steps to take to make them back off and potentially get the debt dismissed:

1) Request Debt Validation in Writing

The first thing you’ll want to do is send Northland a debt validation letter via certified mail. This is your right under the FDCPA – they have to provide proof you actually owe the debt before continuing collections.In the letter, explicitly request they validate the debt by providing documentation like the original account agreement, an itemized statement of interest and fees, and proof of their ownership of the debt. Give them 30 days to respond.Many times, debt buyers like Northland don‘t actually have this paperwork and will simply move on if you call their bluff. If they do provide some documentation, review it carefully to ensure it‘s complete and accurate.You can find sample debt validation letter templates online at sites like NCLC.org and ConsumerAdvocates.org. Just copy, paste into a Word doc, and send it certified mail.

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2) Demand They Stop Calling

Whether or not Northland validates the debt, you have the right to demand they stop all further communication with you under the FDCPA. Known as sending a “cease and desist” letter, this should stop the harassment once and for all.You can include this cease and desist notice in your initial debt validation request, or send it separately after they fail to properly validate. Just state in writing that you no longer wish to be contacted by phone, and that all further communication must be via mail only.Northland is then legally required to stop calling you, with the exception of one final notification that they’re terminating collections or planning to take specific legal action. If they violate this and keep calling, you may have grounds for a harassment lawsuit against them.

3) Dispute the Debt with Credit Bureaus

If the alleged debt from Northland is showing up on your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – you’ll want to dispute it in writing with each bureau. Explain that you contest owing this debt, and request they investigate and remove it from your reports if it’s found to be inaccurate.The credit bureaus are required to investigate any disputes under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If Northland can’t validate the debt, it should get removed from your credit file which can help improve your scores.You can find sample credit dispute letter templates at sites like ConsumerReports.org. Just make sure to send your disputes via certified mail and keep copies of everything for your records.

4) Complain to the CFPB and Your State AG

If Northland continues to violate debt collection laws like the FDCPA after you send validation and cease and desist notices, it’s time to file official complaints against them. The two main places to do this are:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – You can submit a complaint about Northland’s conduct on the CFPB’s website. The CFPB will review your case and potentially take action against Northland.
  • Your State Attorney General’s Office – Most state AGs have a consumer protection division you can file complaints with about abusive debt collectors. A quick Google search for “file consumer complaint [your state]” should pull up the right website.

Having a documented paper trail of Northland’s violations will strengthen your case. So make sure to include copies of any letters, recordings, or other evidence you have when filing complaints.

5) Hire a Consumer Protection Lawyer

If Northland Group still won’t back off after you take all the above steps, your last resort may be taking legal action against them. This is where hiring an experienced consumer protection attorney can make a big difference.Lawyers who specialize in FDCPA and FCRA cases know all the tricks debt collectors play. They can sue Northland on your behalf for harassment, improper validation, credit reporting violations, and more.Many consumer law firms work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay unless they win your case and recover money from the debt collector. So it may be worth at least consulting with a local attorney if Northland refuses to respect your rights.You can find consumer lawyers near you through online directories like NACA.net and Avvo.com. Just search for “FDCPA lawyer” or “debt collection harassment attorney” in your area.

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Statute of Limitations – When Northland Can’t Sue Over Old Debts

One important thing to understand is that there‘s a legal time limit known as the “statute of limitations” for how long a debt collector can sue you over an unpaid debt. This varies by state and type of debt, but it’s generally between 3-6 years for most consumer debts.So let’s say you had an old credit card debt from 2015 that Northland recently bought. If you live in a state with a 4-year statute of limitations on credit card debt, Northland would be way too late to take you to court over it in 2023.Of course, they’ll still likely try to collect and pressure you into paying anyway. But at least you’d have a solid legal defense if they did improperly sue over a time-barred debt.You can look up the statute of limitations for different debts in your state at Bankrate.com and sites like NOLO.com. Just be aware that restarting payments or admitting you owe the debt can “re-age” it and restart the clock in some states.

Don’t Let Northland Intimidate You – You Have Rights!

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to not let Northland Group‘s aggressive tactics scare or intimidate you. Yes, dealing with debt collectors is incredibly stressful. But you’re not powerless here.The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you ammunition to fight back against any illegal or abusive behavior from Northland. And there are specific steps you can take, like sending debt validation letters and filing complaints, to put a stop to the harassment.So don’t just ignore those calls and letters. Take action to protect your rights and get Northland to play by the rules. With some persistence, you can make this debt collector nightmare finally go away.And if all else fails, look into hiring an experienced consumer lawyer to take on Northland and potentially sue them for violations. The law is on your side here – you just have to exercise your rights.

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