Today I’, talking with consumer attorney Jason Rapa from Pennsylvania. We talk about both debt validation and debt collector behavior.
Today, bad debt buyers are unable to cough up proof a debt is valid and actually legally collectable but depending on where you live, the inability to validate the debt can’t be relied on alone to prevent you from being sued for an old debt.
Debts as little as $90 have wound up in court with the consumer being sued. Unless you take being sued seriously you will lose and may have your wages garnished for even small amounts.
While validating the debt is a tool that might be used, Mr. Rapa advises to stay away from one of the many debt validation companies, that for thousands of dollars, tries to sell you a service to make debt go away through validation tricks. His advice, which is sound, is to instead find an attorney licensed in your state that is aware of how to handle collection issues.
Simply asking a debt collector to prove the validity of a debt does not stop collection activity and if it does, it is not uncommon for the debt to simply be passed to a different collection company to pursue the consumer.
Mr. Rapa says only a small percentage of debt sold by original creditors could be factually validated if push comes to shove. Debt buyers are paying pennies per dollar of debt knowing they are buying debt which could not be validated.
These debt buyers will then sue the consumer and hope to get a judgment. These companies know that when the average consumer is sued they simply stick their head in the sand and wind up losing simply because they did not show up to fight the claim.
Jason Rapa says that in his experience many of the lawsuits by creditors contain errors, incorrect facts, and just erroneous claims of amounts due.
During the interview we talk about several unbelievable real cases of how debt collectors try to scare, threaten and intimidate people into paying with threats of AIDS and public intimidation.
Below is a news story that includes Mr. Rapa and has the audio file of the collection call I mentioned in the interview where the debt collector threatens the consumer that unless he pays the collector will call his neighbors and claim he’s a pedophile.
And I mean, it scared her to death. She advised him that she had a small child, and they said, “Well, you and your child will be sleeping on the floor.” And then when she begged and pleaded with him about what she could do, they gave her the number of at another desk in the same collection agency and stated that you had to call a certain individual who was an attorney, and he could stop the process.
And then when she contacted that individual, he spoke down to her, asked her what kind of person would live with a person like this, would have a boyfriend like this, and asked her if he knew that the consumer had three or four other girlfriends and children and wasn’t she concerned about contracting AIDS. Where the debt collectors come up with this stuff, why they think it’s gonna motivate payment I don’t know. If their intent is to appall people, they are accomplishing it. How it translates to payment I don’t know, but that’s just one of many horror stories I hear on a regular basis.
Steve: So if somebody’s listening right now, and they happen to live in the State of Pennsylvania, how do they contact you?
Jason Rapa They can go to my website, which is RapaLegal.com, R-A-P-A-L-E-G-A-L.com. They can contact me right through the website directly into my email. They can also call. They can call our number (610) 377-7730 or toll-free number (866) 740-6117 and either myself or my brother, who’s also an attorney in the firm, will speak with them and talk to them about what’s going on because both of us handle the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and collection abuse cases.
Steve: All right, well, thank you so much for your time today, Mr. Rapa.
Jason Rapa Thank you very much.