Attorney debt collectors are not exempt from the law just because they are lawyers. They actually have a slightly higher standard of care that they must engage in to comply with the law. They must make sure that what they do to collect not only complies with the rules of collection, but also the rules of ethics.
The statute of limitations is a rule that sets the time for a someone to sue to collect. It is not a time limit to collect, or garnish, or take other collection activities, but to file the lawsuit. And the time varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and circumstance to circumstance. The time to sue on a credit card in Virginia is different from the time to sue on a defaulted car note in California. Beyond that time, the debt is barred by the statute of limitations.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits misrepresenting the amount, character or legal status of a debt in an effort to collect on that debt.
But on a regular basis, they do sue on debts that are time barred. For example, in this article, National Credit Adjusters threatened to sue on time barred debt. Here is another article on time barred debt.
When they sue, they are representing to you and the court that they have the legal right to sue. That the time has not passed. But if it has passed, they are making a false representation.
It is not unethical to sue on a time barred debt in Virginia. Do not make the mistake of making a complaint to the state bar. This is because in Virginia, the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense. That means that YOU must bring it up to be an effective bar against collection.
Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc., is happy to help consumers who have been impacted by debt collection attorneys who have sued after the expiration of the time to sue. The facts and law vary from case to case, so it is important to contact a lawyer before the gavel falls, so if you are sued in Virginia, make an appointment to see us soon.
If you have been impacted by anything we mentioned here, you can make an appointment to see us.
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The rights afforded to you, as a consumer, under the FCRA and the FDCPA means that a corporation or party who has violated your rights may ultimately be made to pay for statutory damages, actual damages, and your legal fees. Therefore, if we agree to represent you in any case, you won’t pay any attorney’s fees unless we are successful and we recover on your behalf. We are here to serve and have assisted many consumers TO enforce their legal rights. Let us try and see if we can help you too. That means you pay no fee in your case unless we recover.
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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
5310 Markel Rd.
Richmond, VA 23230