Zwicker and Associates
Zwicker and Associates P.C. is a law firm that specializes in debt collection. This firm is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and it has offices throughout the United States. If you received a letter from them, it is likely that your credit card company is suing you for non- payment of bills.
If you have defaulted on an American Express, Chase, or Discover card, then that is where it is coming from. In most cases, American Express customers who have defaulted on their credit are likely to receive such letters.
American Express is quite aggressive when it comes to debt collection and they often work with Zwicker and Associates.
What Do You Do When Zwicker and Associates Contact You?
When you receive a letter from them, the last thing you should consider is to ignore them. First, verify if you actually have a debt to settle with the said company. This is important because there have been several instances where debt collection companies have contacted the wrong person.
There are also instances of credit card theft or errors on your credit report. You can verify the information by asking them to validate the debt. They are obligated to provide all details about the said loan.
This provision is available under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (FDCPA) and it is there to protect the ordinary borrower against unfair debt collection practices.
Zwicker and Associates is expected to provide the following information within 5 days – the amount you owe and the name of the creditor. They are also expected to provide a statement that informs you that you can dispute the debt in 30 days.
They are also expected to produce a statement that indicates that they will offer you the name and address of the creditor if you request for it in writing. They are also expected to provide other information such as account number.
You should note that if the creditor does not validate the debt. It is illegal for the debt collector to collect it. If you realize that the debt is not yours, you can file a dispute.
Statute of Limitation
The statute of limitations is the period during which a creditor can sue you for the debts you owe. Even after the debt have been validated, there is one more thing for you to confirm. You will need to check if the debt is time-barred or not.
The statute of limitations varies from one state to the other, you should confirm the provisions for your state. If the debt is not time-barred, you will need to look for a way to negotiate the debt. However, if it is time-barred, you can raise a defense for the court to dismiss it.
If you are not sure if your debt is time-barred, you can check your credit report for your last activity. The statute of limitations begins to count from the time you made your last payment.
There are instances where people have unintentionally reset the clock for the statute of limitation. If you make payments after not paying for a long time, the clock starts over again. You may also reset the clock if you sign a document that acknowledges the debt even when it is time-barred.
Sometimes, the debt collection company may contact you even after the statute of limitations has expired. If they ask you to sign a document that confirms the debt and you do, they can collect a judgment against you. They can force you to pay the debt with the judgment. You should also carefully read the contracts you sign when you are acquiring the credit.
This is important because some contracts state that the debt is still valid even if the statute of limitation expires.
Negotiating a Settlement with Zwicker and Associates
There are two ways that debt collection companies handle collection accounts. They either work on a commission basis or they buy the accounts. Zwicker and Associates does both.
They buy the account and for others, they work on a commission basis. With the purchase of the account, the accounts are sold on the average of one to eight cents on the dollar. Debt collectors pay more for fresher accounts.
When Zwicker and Associates buy the account, they have more negotiating flexibility since the account is now theirs. If they work on a commission basis, they work according to strict guidelines. They can only negotiate the offers presented by the contracting creditor.
If you are not comfortable negotiating with the debt collector, you can engage the services of a professional debt settlement company. Debt settlement companies have all the expertise in negotiating with the debt collector on your behalf.
Next Steps When You Are Sued by the Debt Collector
Even if you have been sued by Zwicker and Associates on behalf of a creditor, you can still negotiate with Zwicker and Associates. You can still negotiate for a settlement plan.
When you and the debt collector make an agreement, make sure you get it in writing. It is important to get it in writing or recording since you will need something to hold on to when the debt collector changes their mind.
When negotiating with Zwicker and Associates, you should target to negotiate between 50% to 60% of the total balance. Some people have been able to negotiate a percentage lower than that but it rarely happens.
If negotiations do not work, you can still defend the lawsuit in court. You will need to consult with an experienced debt collection defense attorney.
You should note that the creditor that Zwicker and Associates is working on behalf of can also influence the outcome of the lawsuit. With most debt collection defense attorneys, there is no initial cost.
A good attorney can defend the case well enough to buy time for you to raise enough cash to settle the debt. In most cases, if you are able to raise cash within 6 to 12 months while the attorney stalls the case, you can avoid a judgment appearing on your report.
You should also note that some creditors will not allow Zwicker to pause the court process due to a simple payment plan. They will make sure they get the judgment anyway. In that case, you cannot avoid judgment.
Settling with Zwicker and Associates After the Judgment
When Zwicker receives a judgment, they can garnish your wage, file property liens, or even levy your bank account. These can be bad for you since you can be left with nothing at the end month. You should act fast so that it does not get to that level. You can call Zwicker and negotiate a lump sum for the settlement.
You should know that there are laws that are intended to protect consumers from unfair collection practices. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are two of such laws. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being contacted by debt collectors, you should know these laws to protect yourself.
Things that count as a violation of the FDCPA:
- The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from collecting debts in an abusive manner.
- They cannot use threatening language or harassment in an attempt to get you to pay the debt
- They cannot talk to anyone about your debt, not even your relatives.
- They cannot call you at work when you tell them not to, especially when your employer is not comfortable with it.
- They are also not expected to use false information to force you to pay the debt.
- They are threatening you with violence, arrest, or lawsuit.
- Automated calls to your phone to get you to pay the money.
- They try to collect more than you owe.
- They are threatening to put negative remarks on your credit report.
- They are making early morning or late night to you.
If the collection company which is Zwicker and Associates, in this case, has violated the provisions of the FDCPA, you can take legal action against them.
It is better to avoid dealing with a debt collection firm like Zwicker and Associates in the first place. You should pay your debts on time so that they do not get a debt collection company on your case.
You should always stick to your budget and do not spend more than you can afford to pay for. Remember that, your credit score is affected when you do not pay your credit on time.