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How to Tell if Your Creditors are ‘Overbiffing’ Your Debt
Unfortunately, debt collectors have a reputation for using illegal tactics to confuse or intimidate debtors into paying money they may not owe. These deceitful and unfair collection practices come in all shapes and sizes, with new ones constantly being thought up. Most recently, a tactic called ‘overbiffing’ has gained popularity and refers to tricking consumers into paying more than their “Balance in Full” or BIF.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of overbiffing or any unfair dept-collection activity, consult a highly skilled Ohio debt collection attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
More Details on Overbiffing
Overbiffing is essentially overstating a debtor’s balance in full to collect more money from them. This scam became known when Robert Heidenreich, a debt collector from New York tricked a number of debtors into paying more than they owed. The New York State Attorney General’s Office also discovered that Heidenreich’s employees had pretended to be attorneys or law enforcement officers to try to make the inflated numbers more convincing when speaking to debtors.
These employees would inform debtors that they had committed a crime and were in jeopardy of being arrested. Then, the debtors would be directed to another debt collector who posed as an attorney and would take their payment over the phone. If the debtors questioned the so-called attorneys, the debt collector would respond with aggression or abuse.
The amounts suggested was sometimes double or triple the amount owed, but often times, debtors fail to investigate the claims made by debt collectors. They simply want to put an end to the calls and harassment and make a payment without questioning the alleged amount they owe. Unfortunately, overbiffing has led to hundreds and even thousands of debtors paying debt collection agencies more than they should have.
If you are in debt, understand that debt collectors do not have the right to raise your interest charges and fees because they claim you have been unresponsive. In addition, it is illegal for them to use abusive or threatening language. They are required to adhere to the rules in your original contract and cannot make things up on a whim.
Is Overbiffing Legal?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, overbiffing is illegal. The act states that debt collectors cannot misrepresent the amount of debt owed or outline the consequences of failing to repay debt. Since overbiffing is an illegal practice, debt collection agencies who engage in this practice may be responsible for the losses of their victims.
If you believe you are a victim of overbiffing, know that you can ask for your debt to be “validated in writing.” You can also check the amount the debt collectors give you against the numbers on your credit reports, which you can gain access to free of charge by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
How an Ohio Debt Lawyer Can Help
In the event you believe you are a victim of overbiffing, it’s essential to contact an Ohio debt lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you determine whether you are a victim and inform you of your legal options. A lawyer can also assist in reporting the debt collector to the state attorney general’s consumer affairs division and the Federal Trade Commission.
Additionally, an Ohio debt lawyer may support you in managing your debt. Consumer credit counseling, debt consolidation loans, debt settlement, or payment plans may help you take care of any unsecured debts you have. The most common unsecured debts include credit card bills, payday loans, utility bills, signature loans, and medical bills.
Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we understand just how stressful it can be to owe hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt. Therefore, we are committed to answering any debt related questions you may have and holding unscrupulous debt collectors accountable for taking advantage of individuals in a vulnerable financial position.