Five Simple Steps to Reduce Lawsuits by ProQuest


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									Five Simple Steps
to Reduce Lawsuits

22 I July 2010 Collector
I   n this troubling economic climate,
    there is one area in which every
    agency is seeing an upswing—
consumer lawsuits. Already through the
first quarter of 2010, statistics indicate
                                             of using an attorney as a sounding
                                             board for every word is disheartening.
                                             Giving a letter to a lawyer each time it
                                             is changed prior to using it seems like
                                             another unnecessary delay. The problem
                                                                                           Trade Commission have determined
                                                                                           that this action must be taken regardless
                                                                                           of the manner in which the agency
                                                                                           learned of the dispute. It does not
                                                                                           matter if the agency learned about
that a record number of lawsuits will        is, of course, that a lawyer is going to      the dispute through a phone call or in
be filed this year against agencies for      end up reading the letter anyway—the          a letter from the consumer. A letter
violations of federal and state consumer     consumer’s lawyer.                            from the consumer’s lawyer triggers
laws, particularly the Fair Debt                 One phrase, one sentence or even          the obligation, as does the receipt of an
Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and         one word may be the difference between        automated consumer dispute verification
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).        an FDCPA and FCRA compliant                   form from consumer reporting agencies.
This trend is not likely to decrease for     letter or a violation. Keep in mind that          Once an agency learns of a dispute,
some time.                                   lawyers are experts at massaging words,       without regard to how plausible or
    This increase can be primarily           and every judge is a former practicing        believable it is, the agency must notify
attributed to the rise of a distinct         lawyer. If you mail one letter containing     every consumer reporting agency to
consumer plaintiff’s bar that is             the wrong word, it’s more than likely         which it publishes that account that
aggressively targeting potential clients.    you mailed at least 10,000 more—              it should be marked disputed. The
The “fee shifting” nature of these           allowing even the most novice consumer        “dispute” tag should not be removed by
statutes, along with their reliance on       lawyer to cultivate the riches of a class-    the agency unless and until the tradeline
strict liability principles to ensnare       action settlement.                            is no longer being reported by the
agencies for mere technical violations,     
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