Craig Cunningham's Articles

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More about me.

Craig, better known as codename47 from the Fatwallet Finance forums, is our resident anti-debt collector guru. He knows the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the law that governs the behavior of debt collectors, forward, backwards, sideways, and upside-down. He can tell you, in a moments notice, whether someone has violated the FDCPA, whether they owe you $1,000 (or more), and how you can get it. We've been fortunate enough to have him write our how to fight debt collector series and educate us on how the war is really won.

How to Sue Debt Collectors

by Craig Cunningham on November 09, 2009

Lawyer BooksNow that you are aware of what happens when debt collectors violate the FDCPA and you have some recorded phone calls, credit reporting violations, and false or misleading statements by a collector, what do you do then?

You sue them.

Nothing gets a company’s attention like slapping them with a lawsuit. As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone gets sued.

From here, you have two choices and both will take you to the courthouse:

  • You can retain a lawyer to represent you, or,
  • Do it yourself.

I’ll explain both.

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What are Junk Debt Buyers?

by Craig Cunningham on October 27, 2009

So many bills!Junk Debt Buyers, also called JDB’s, engage in the business of buying distressed assets at pennies on the dollar and then try to collect on that debt. Sometimes they try to go after the full amount, sometimes they’ll accept a settlement amount of 50% or less. It’s not a bad business to be in, except they suffer from one very crucial weakness a smart debt collection fighter knows. When challenged, they can rarely obtain any sufficient documentation of the debt. In other words, they can’t validate the debt after someone has sent a debt dispute letter!

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When Debt Collectors Violate the FDCPA

by Craig Cunningham on October 21, 2009

DebtAs we learned in this classic abusive debt collection story, and Craig’s awesome response, debt collectors are often unfamiliar with the law. Not only are they unfamiliar with it, they routine violate it… which means you get to collect from them.

Want an example? Let’s say you call a collector to check on the status of your dispute. They decide to solicit payment from you… that collector has just violated the FDCPA and they now owe you at least $1,000.

Oh… it gets better.

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What Constitutes Debt Validation?

by Craig Cunningham on October 08, 2009

DebtSo I sent a debt collection dispute letter, now what?

Well, now you wait.

In most states, the collector has 2 options:

  • They can cease all collection efforts and drop the issue completely, or,
  • They can get validation and try to collect again.

Unless they validate the debt, including all the fees the collection agency has added on, you don’t have to do anything. It’s in this phase that most debt collectors trip up and make mistakes, which will be to your advantage.

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Writing Your Debt Collection Dispute Letter

by Craig Cunningham on September 29, 2009

DebtThis is the second guest post in a special How to Fight Debt Collectors series on Bargaineering.com.

Writing a debt collection dispute letter is the first line of defense against a debt collector. Make them prove that the debt is legitimate before you do anything. Just because they have your name doesn’t mean the debt is legitimate. If you don’t remember it or you remember paying it off, a dispute letter can help you resolve it quickly.

Once you know who is calling you and what they are likely to do, it’s time to push back with a properly worded dispute letter.

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How to Research Debt Collectors & Understand the Law

by Craig Cunningham on September 28, 2009

DebtThis is the first guest post in a special How to Fight Debt Collectors series on Bargaineering.com.

So you’ve received a debt collection call or letter…

In this day and age where you have rampant foreclosures, layoffs and job losses, it is simply inevitable that an individual may come across a debt collector, and frankly even without these external factors, it may just happen by a chance wrong number or even being related to someone going through a hard time financially. Many people have questions and are unprepared to deal with this, but after reading this series of articles, you will be. I will detail the key steps you should take to secure your rights, aggressively defend yourself, and ultimately make the debt collectors pay YOU to go away. This is not your typical “just pay your bills and get a second job” column, so please read on.

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