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Are you being harassed by debt collection calls?  I speak with a lot of Indiana consumers, and harassing debt collection calls are one of the things I hear about over and over again.  What many people don’t know is that it is relatively easy to make these calls stop.  You just have to know what to do.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides boundaries for debt collectors’ telephone communications when attempting to collect a debt.  They can’t call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.  They can’t call the consumer at a time or place known to be inconvenient to the consumer (this could include work).  They can’t call the consumer at work if they know the consumer’s employer prohibits it.  They can’t call a third party in connection with the collection of a consumer’s debt except to obtain location information about the consumer (and even then the debt collector cannot volunteer that they are a debt collector, cannot state that the consumer owes a debt and cannot call the third party more than once).  Debt collectors also can’t call repeatedly with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass.

The FDCPA also provides that a consumer can terminate (virtually) all communication from a debt collector by notifying the debt collector in writing that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication.  This written notification should be made by certified mail because it is only effective upon receipt, and you want to be able to prove it was received.  Any additional communications from a debt collector after receipt of such notice violate the FDCPA.  The debt collector’s only two options at that point are to sue you or leave you alone.

PRESS RELEASE

Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Atlas Collections Inc., a Henry County based collection agency, and Attorney James E. Millikan, a Henry County lawyer who represents Atlas Collections in court.  The plaintiffs are four Indiana consumers who were sued by Atlas Collections over allegedly unpaid medical bills in Henry County small claims court.  The lawsuit, which has been filed in Henry County Circuit Court #2, alleges that Atlas Collections and Attorney Millikan violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) in multiple ways in the lawsuits filed against the plaintiffs.  The alleged FDCPA violations include collecting attorney fees and costs that were not owed, using a fraudulent assignment document from Henry County Hospital that purported to grant Atlas Collections the right to collect on the debt and suing a non-contractually-liable spouse for the contractually-liable spouse’s medical bill (before a judgment was obtained against the contractually-liable spouse and then not paid).  The Complaint also alleges claims under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act (for committing what would be the crime of Counterfeiting) and Fraud Upon the Court.

The four plaintiffs seek to represent several classes of persons who were sued for allegedly unpaid medical bills by Atlas and Attorney Millikan in the last year, two years or six years (depending on the claim).  The plaintiffs are seeking an award of actual damages, statutory damages, costs and attorney fees on their own behalf and on behalf of the class.