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Were my rights violated under the fair debt collection act?

Orange City, FL |

I had a call today from a restricted number I called and answered and was told that I **MUST** call a toll-free number to avoid a court summons, when I inquired about what this information was about I was told that the person on the phone had no idea. So I called the toll-free number with the reference number that was given to me.

After giving the ref number to the operator a Ms. Toni Celli answered the phone and said that she was a Resolution Specialist they were going to summons me to court for a credit card if I did not comply with what she had to say. After I asked the woman politely to please not call and to mail me all information and to give me their address she started yelling at me; when I asked if this was to collect payment on a debt, Ms. Celli would not say however she did de

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Attorney answers 5


A violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is not clear, but there is a strong possibilty that the phone call was a scam. Try googling the toll-free number to see if similar instances have been dicussed publicly.

You are correct to require all communication regarding a claimed debt to be in writing.

Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


I agree with Ms. Sinclair. When someone calls like this you have every right to demand that they mail you proof of the debt. Her reaction was unprofessional, but the people who do that job are not exactly the cream of the crop.

Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.


Yes! Pursuant to the Federal Debt Collection Act, which many states mirror in their general statute, a debt collector must first state that they are a debt collector and any information will be used for that purpose. I would refer you to a specific link at Paragraph 4 notes that a debt collector cannot misrepresent that you will be summoned to court. A debt collector cannot harass you. I would request contact information, proof of the debt and a request to stop contacting you by telephone. You should then state in a certified letter and facsimile that you only wish to receive communications by written mail, that you are hiring counsel and that you wish to recieve proof of the debt. Both state and federal law allow you to charge someone for calling after receipt of this letter. As a debt collector, my office sends out a letter with proof of the debt and then moves forward with a Complaint and Summons in Superior Court, unless the debtor is willing to enter a payment plan.

Answers provided are not a substitute for in person legal advice. Answers are provided with a general knowledge of law. No answer is valid unless a complete fact pattern is provided and even then may require further research by your counsel. Despite our ability to provide case law and statutory references it is still not definative of how a court will decide an issue. Given a consult and retainer to research an issue counsel can frame all the legal issues and provide the information needed to make your own informed decision given the particular situation you are confronted with at this time.

Paula Brown Sinclair

Paula Brown Sinclair


What you say is absolutely true and enforcable against "real" debt collectors such as yourself. However, we are more frequently seeing pretend collectors that are nothing but scams, often originating overseas, and typically pursuing invented and ambiguously described "debts." Enforcability of the FDCPA is nearly impossible in these situations. The purpose of my answer was to alert the asker to the possibility of a scam.

Salvatore Ritacco

Salvatore Ritacco


I agree that this was probably a scam. I have been faced with the same scams in the past. I usually make the same information request and state they they are in violation of the debt collection act. Soon thereafter they stop calling. Some will continue calling my private cell phone until I state that I am an attorney and that my next call will be to police. The purpose of my answer was simply to give guidelines of how to handle any debt collection attempt.


Yes, on several levels. The "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" prohibits collectors from threatening to take any action (i.e. "summons me to court") which is not intended or legally possible 15 U.S.C. 1692e(5)


There are several clear violations of the FDCPA. The operator at the first number was acting to collect a debt and did not identify themselves as a debt collector. The second number was also a debt collector and apparently did not identify themselves as a collector. The facts you are presenting suggest a smoke screen by the debt collector to make it more difficult to locate them. I would contact an attorney who specializes in FDCPA cases. Go to to locate a specialist in your area.

The answer given is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Dwight Bowen is a bankruptcy and consumer attorney and may be contacted at (404) 880-3310.

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