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Debt collections accepting payments

Debt Collector Accepting Late Payments

Have you consistently been making late payments to a creditor or debt collector? If so, the creditor or debt collector may be obligated to continue accepting the late payments.

The Mutual Departure Doctrine

The Mutual Departure Doctrine, O.C.G.A.  §13-4-4, requires that if the parties to a contract, during the course of the execution of a contract, depart from its original terms, neither party can recover without reasonable notice to the other of intention to rely on the exact terms of the original agreement. Until such notice, the original terms of the contract may be suspended by departure.

The most frequent application of this doctrine is where the customer makes regular payments after the due date, and the creditor or debt collector is accepting the late payments with no objections.

The Mutual Departure Doctrine Involves a Two-Step Determination:

  1. Has there been a mutual departure from the terms of the written contract?

The first step is to determine if there has been a mutual departure from the written contract terms and money has been paid and received under such departure.

This rule requires frequent late payments. Therefore, a debt collector accepting one late payment will not be enough to cause the application of the rule. Vaughn v. Wrenn Bros., Inc., 163 Ga. App. 383, 384 (1982).

  1. Has reasonable notice been given of intention to rely on the exact terms of the original agreement?

If the first question is answered in the affirmative, the next step is to determine if reasonable notice has been given of the intention to rely on the exact terms of the original agreement. Snyder v. Time Warner, Inc., 179 F.Supp.2d 1374, 1380 (N.D. Ga. 2001).

In addition to regular, late payments, nonpayment also falls within the ambit of O.C.G.A. § 13-4-4 where there is “a pattern or course of conduct evidencing an agreement or waiver of the provisions in the original contract relating to non-receipt of monthly payments.” Vaughn v. Wrenn Bros., Inc., 163 Ga.App. 383, 384 (1982).

How to preclude a Mutual Departure Defense

A creditor may rebut a mutual departure defense by providing evidence that the creditor disapproved of the late payments, and this disapproval was conveyed to the debtor. See Duncan v. Lagunas, 253 Ga. 61 (1984) (holding that no waiver was supported where the creditor orally expressed displeasure with debtor’s late payments).

The easiest way to preclude a successful mutual departure defense where late payments have been accepted is to notify the customer that the creditor intends to go back to the terms of the contract and will not accept any further late payments. If this notification is sent and the creditor thereafter continues to accept late payments without further notice that such payments are a breach of the agreement, the Court may be authorized to find that the defendant is not in default. See Williams v. Sessions, 171 Ga. App. 662 (1984).

Conclusion

Diwan Law works hard to provide positive results for its clients dealing with debt collection issues.

If a debt collector serves you with a lawsuit, you need an experienced debt collection lawyer. Contact Diwan Law today at 404-635-6883.

About Diwan Law

Diwan Law is dedicated to getting our clients the best result possible.

Diwan Law handles debt collection actions against consumers in the Magistrate, State, and Superior Courts of Georgia.

Diwan Law represents clients facing:

  • Debt buyer debt collection lawsuits (i.e. Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates, Asset Acceptance, Cavalry Portfolio Services, Unifund, etc.);
  • Original creditor debt collection lawsuits (i.e. American Express, Citibank, Suntrust, etc.);
  • Debt collection lawsuits arising from credit cards, automobile repossession deficiencies, apartment leases, and other contract-related matters;
  • Dormant judgment revival; and
  • Garnishment actions on bank accounts or wages.

Contact Diwan Law at 404-635-6883 for a free case evaluation.

What is a debt collector

What is a Debt Collector?

A “debt collector,” as defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [“FDCPA”], is a person or a business that regularly collects debts owed to another. Still, this definition does not fully explain what a debt collector is.

Most first-party creditors [credit card company or bank] or lenders will try to collect debts themselves before resorting to writing it off. Typically, past-due accounts won’t be charged off until they’re 120 to 180 days late.

After a consumer defaults on a loan, the account is sent to a third-party debt collector or buyer [hereinafter referred to as “debt collector”]. The debt collector then attempts to collect on the debt, rather than the first-party creditor or lender to whom the debt is originally owed.

The collection agencies and attorneys who collect these debts as part of their regular course of business are considered debt collectors. Also included are businesses that buy past-due debts from creditors or other companies and then try to collect them.

The debt collection market is significant and affects many people. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [“CFPB”] states that around one-third of consumers with a credit bureau file reported contact from at least one debt collector.

The FDCPA is the main federal statute regulating the consumer debt collection market. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain types of behavior [such as misrepresentation or harassment] when seeking to collect debts from consumers and grants consumers the right to dispute or stop some communications about an alleged debt.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including hospital bills, credit cards, and car loans.

If a debt collector is contacting you, you need to speak to a consumer’s rights lawyer.

Contact Diwan Law at 404-635-6883 for a free case evaluation.

Debt Collection Defense: Violations of the FDCPA

Consumer Rights Attorney: Violations of the FDCPA

If you have been one of the many victims of unlawful debt collection practices, then an experienced consumer rights attorney can protect your rights. Contact Diwan Law today at 404-635-6883 to schedule your consultation to discuss these violations of the FDCPA.

Protection from Unlawful Debt Collection Practices

Debt Collection agencies often employ persistent and overly aggressive tactics when attempting to collect outstanding debts. Many of these tactics are against the law.

Consumer protection statutes prohibit such behavior and allow for the recovery of damages and attorney fees.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [“FDCPA”] specifically prevents these abusive debt collection practices.

Violations of the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates debt collection practices. It prohibits debt collection companies from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect debts from you.

Examples of the types of consumer debt covered by the FDCPA:

  • Mortgages
  • Credit cards debt
  • Medical debts
  • Car loans

Courts measure violations of the FDCPA by an objective standard called the “least sophisticated consumer” standard. See Jeter v Credit Bureau Inc., 754 F.2d 907, 913 (11th Cir., 1985).

FDCPA Restrictions on communications by debt collectors with Consumers when collecting a debt

  • Time and placedebt collectors may not contact you at an unusual time or place. [Generally speaking, they are prohibited from contacting consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.]
  • Harassment- Debt collectors may not harass you over the phone or through any other form of contact.
  • Representation by an attorney- A debt collector may not contact you if a lawyer is representing you.

Examples of FDCPA violations in collections lawsuits

  • Prosecuting a Lawsuit Against A Consumer After the Statute of Limitations Expires

Continuing to prosecute a time-barred claim is a violation of the FDCPA’s prohibition against making false and misleading claims about the debt’s legal status. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §1692e.

  • False and Misleading Statements About the Amount Owed

It is a violation of the FDCPA’s to file a lawsuit against a consumer for more than is owed. This action is a direct violation of the FDCPA’s prohibition against false or misleading statements. 15 U.S.C. § 1692e.

If you believe that an abusive debt collector has violated your consumer rights, then Diwan Law can help you. Contact us today at 404-635-6883 to learn more.

Garnishment Lawyer: Wage Garnishment or Continuing Garnishment

Garnishment Lawyer: Wage Garnishment

As an experienced wage garnishment lawyer, Diwan Law can guide your case through the garnishment process.

What is a wage garnishment?

Garnishment is a legal method by which a creditor may recoup a debt owed by an individual or company.

After a creditor, such as a credit card company, obtains a judgment against a customer, the debt collector can initiate a separate lawsuit against a third party [“the garnishee”] that owes money or property to the individual.

The garnishee in a wage garnishment is usually an employer.

Note: Recent changes to the garnishment statute allow creditors to file continuing garnishments against not only a judgment debtor’s employer, but also against a person or entity “under periodic obligations for payment” to the judgment debtor/defendant. This expands the garnishee target list for collection to better fit the current “gig” economy.

Once served with the garnishment action, the garnishee must retain a portion of the employee’s earnings each paycheck to satisfy the garnishment.

Under Georgia law, a garnishee can only withhold up to twenty-five percent of the employee’s disposable earnings for that week.

Until recently, wage garnishment actions had a relatively short shelf life in that garnishees were only obligated to withhold the earnings from each of the employee’s paychecks for a total period of 179 days [roughly 6 months]. A recent amendment to the garnishment statute expanded that time period to 1,095 days (3 years).

Wage Garnishment Defenses

Both federal and Georgia laws govern garnishment actions and protect consumers from excessive withholdings.

An experienced wage garnishment defense attorney can assert several defenses on behalf of a customer. The most common defenses are:

  • The judgment has expired;
  • Federal and Georgia law exempts the funds from wage garnishment;
  • The judgment was satisfied [paid];
  • The consumer filed for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy;
  • The plaintiff failed to follow proper procedure in the garnishment action.

Diwan law can guide your case through the garnishment process and be your lawyer to stop the garnishment.

Contact Diwan Law, your wage garnishment lawyer, at 404.635.6883 to discuss your case today.

False Arrest

False Arrest Attorney

Have you been a victim of false arrest? Speak with a false arrest attorney immediately about your rights. Contact Diwan Law, 404-635-6883, for a free consultation!

A false arrest can occur with or without police involvement. Many false arrest claims involve private security.

Retail stores, supermarkets, hotels, apartments, bars, and many other businesses and venues hire private security firms to monitor their premises. Unfortunately, security officers and law enforcement professionals sometimes overstep their authority and restrain people in a manner that violates a person’s civil rights.

A FALSE ARREST ATTORNEY CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS

What is False Arrest?

False arrest is the restraint or detention by one person of another without lawful justification for any length of time. It can occur any time one person restrains another against his or her will or takes another into custody without consent or without “probable cause.”

By definition, probable cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances as would lead one to the reasonable belief that a person has committed the crime for which he or she has been charged.

Lack of probable cause exists when the circumstances are such as to satisfy a reasonable person that the accuser had no ground for proceeding but his desire to injure the accused.

Civil Lawsuits for False Arrest

Right of civil action for false arrest exists if the arrest was made maliciously, under the process of law, and without probable cause.

One can institute a lawsuit for damages stemming from a false arrest. Damages can include such things as loss of salary or injury to reputation.

If you have been falsely arrested in Georgia, the Atlanta false arrest attorney at Diwan Law, LLC can help you receive compensation for physical harm, mental trauma, financial losses, and any other consequences of a false arrest.

Please contact the Georgia false arrest lawyer at Diwan Law, LLC to discuss your case. Your consultation is free.