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Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices: Know Your Rights and Protect Yourself from Threats, Lies, and Intimidation Paperback – August 20, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

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From the Back Cover

This year, America's enormous debt collection industry will make 1,000,000,000 collection calls. They will threaten. Lie. Mislead. Intimidate. Award-winning reporter Fred Williams went “undercover” inside one of its largest firms. Now, he reveals everything he learned—and shows exactly how to fight back and protect your rights.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137058306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137058303
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,199,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fred Williams has worked as a business journalist since 1986. In 2008 he took a job as a debt collector to deepen his understanding of the controversial industry. The resulting book was "Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices," a look at how collectors operate. Fred's work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Buffalo News and USA Today.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carrie VINE VOICE on October 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To many of us, the debt collection world is a foreign territory that we never want to visit. The problem is that with the state of the economy and the fact that there are so many people sharing the same name (just look at Facebook), the debt collection world may come knocking just because of your name, your address, or any other commonality that you may have with their targeted debtor. When this happens, most of us have no idea how to respond other than to get angry - a tactic that generally doesn't work in the debt collection world.

Fred Williams' "Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices" is divided into two parts. The first part is an engaging story of the author's three month stint working as a debt collector. His story "humanizes" the collectors and explains some of the debt collection world mentality. At the end of each of chapters 1-19, the author gives a gray-box blurb on a pertinent portion of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requirements that debt collectors must follow. The second part of the book is the "meat and potatoes" of how to handle the debt collectors once they start calling you. In simple terms, he explains the highlights of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, how to stop collection calls, understanding how to read credit report, and how to negotiate a settlement. Part 2 is only 31 pages of the 194 page book, so don't expect a lot of depth. The upshot is that the onus is on you to protect yourself, whether you are the intended debtor or just an innocent who answers his phone.

"Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices" is easy to read and provides insight into the debt collection world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By watzizname VINE VOICE on December 10, 2010
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If you receive a letter or phone call from a "law office" or "fraud investigator," beware: it may well be a collection agency using one of the unfair and possibly illegal collection practices Fred Williams tells about in this book. And if you don't recall owing the "debt" they are trying to collect, it may well be that you really don't owe it; it may be the debt of someone else with a name similar to yours, or it may be a case of identity theft.

Part 1 (chapters 1-19), Debt Collection Secrets, tells what debt collection agencies can and can't legally do, and the illegal things many collection agencies routinely do to scare people into paying, even if the "debt" is not really owed.

Part 2 (chapters 20-25), Coping With Collections, tells how to handle debt collectors, and if necessary, prepare and enter a complaint with your State Attorney General or with the Federal authorities.

THIS IS A BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ AND KEEP ON HAND FOR REFERENCE. Even if you have never owed anybody anything, debt collectors may call you demanding payment of money you don't owe, so you may incur immediate need to know how to handle the threat of seizure of your property or garnishment of your wages or salary. Williams tells of one victim of such illegal tactics, whose bank account was frozen on the basis of a judgment illegally obtained against someone else of the same name. It even turned out that the judgment was the result of "sewer service," a process server swearing falsely that the required notice to appear in court was delivered into the hand of the intended recipient. Never having received any notice of his court date, he did not show up and therefore a summary judgment against him was entered.

watziznayme@gmail.com
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sires on December 22, 2010
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I had the unusual advantage of knowing someone who in her misspent youth worked as a lawyer for a debt collection firm. After reading this book I passed it to her and asked her to tell me if she found anything wrong in it. She came to me today and noted that there wasn't anything in it that she thought was glaringly wrong but it seemed somewhat naive to think that debt collectors don't yell at you and lie to you and break all the rules. I explained to her gently that most people do not deal with debt collectors on a day to day basis, so what she thought was simplistic and naive may be just the ticket for someone navigating the thicket of debt collection for the first time.

The schtick of the book is that the author takes a job as a debt collector in order to learn the business from the inside, after reporting about it for years on the outside. The writing is clear and simple, the points are made obvious by a statement of the law at the end of each section.

He also tries to balance the scale by noting the various things that people try to get out of talking to a debt collector-- *hint* they are onto the "I'm his brother, he's dead" scheme. And if he is really dead then they cannot collect his debts from his relatives and are required by law to tell you this while they try to collect the debt from the deceased person's relatives. It's not illegal to try, you see.

Anyway, this book may give someone who is feeling helpless and hopeless more of a sense that they have some control of their fate, or at least understand what is happening to them, for this I recommend it.
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