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The Consumers' New Years Resolutions for 2013

As we have turned over another calendar year, Justice _scalejust about all of us have made out our list of new years resolutions for the coming year.  In our attempts to make ourselves better we have set out our goals and hope we can take steps toward accomplishing these goals before we forget all about them, and make them anew next year. 

In keeping with this great tradition, here is a compiled list that consumers in the market place should all resolve to do this year:

1.  I will read the contract before I sign.   Whether we are purchasing a car or obtaining a new line of credit, merely looking at the long and drawn out agreement is often too intimidating.  The initial reaction is to just trust the vendor and sign the document.  Then when there is a problem down the road, who can we blame when we never read the terms we were getting ourselves into.  Don't let them hurry you through the buying process.  Take your time and read the document. 

2.  I will not give my credit card or bank account information out over the phone to people who are threatening me with legal action unless and until they provide me proof that they are a legitimate company pursuing a legitimate debt.   There is an awfully large amount of fraud in the collection business, most notably when it comes to payday loans.  Many of these so-called companies do not take the time to properly register as a corporation.  This is mostly because they are bent on performing illegal acts and do not want to get caught when they do.  From now on, no matter what the threat, demand that these companies prove who they are or they will not get our money.
 
3.  I will not ignore a lawsuit that gets served on me and allow a judgment to be entered against me without a fight.  Another intimidating event is the receipt of a complaint and summons by a sheriff.   Even worse is having to go to court and step in front of a judge - this is a very uncomfortable environment for a non-lawyer.  However, the failure to properly respond subjects us to a far worse fate - a judgment.  With a judgment comes the right to garnish wages or take assets.  When receiving a lawsuit, we are going to overcome that fear, call a lawyer for help, and make sure they don't walk right over us to get their judgment.
 
4.  I will make use of the law that allows me a free credit report once a year and review my credit report for errors.  The laws are here to help us.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides that each of us are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.  There is no good reason not to take advantage of this.   We can see what people are reporting about us and not have to pay for it.
 
5.  I will not be afraid of the phone when it rings, and I will answer it and find out who is calling.  Many consumers call us to complain that they are getting repeated calls and want it to stop.  Who's calling?  They don't know...they are not answering the phone because they do not recognize the number.  Moreover, the consumer does not have an answer for the debt collector.  There is no reason to fear a debt collector.  All they can do is talk.  They cannot reach through the phone and hurt you.  They have to comply with all the laws surrounding debt collection.  If they are going to be held accountable, we have to know who they are.  Therefore, we are going to answer the phone and find out what they want from us.  Who knows, maybe they will even let us try to settle the debt.

When you're being pursued by debt collectors, have credit reporting issues,  or are being sued for a debt, you have rights,  and we're here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel that you're rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.

 

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