Whether you run a business, are a subcontractor hired by a general contractor or are just a private citizen, if you lent a substantial amount of money to someone, and the agreement was for you to be paid back, you deserve it. However, particularly in contractor agreements on construction projects in New Orleans, you may have gotten stiffed on payment and sometimes it is difficult to collect a debt in New Orleans. If this is the case, you’re probably wondering what legal avenues you can take to be properly compensated.

What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

This legislation outlined what is and isn’t allowed when seeking to collect on a debt in New Orleans. It basically prohibits collectors from engaging in harassing, deceptive or abusive conduct when speaking with you. This includes:

  • Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Using foul or threatening language.
  • However, they are allowed to:
    • Contact you without consent.
    • Ascertain your whereabouts if you’ve changed your address.
    • Gather reports of overall credit standing, general reputation or mode of living.
  • If you have defaulted on your payment, and given written instructions for the collector to stop contacting you, the collector must limit mail contact to once per month.

If the creditor/collector violates the provisions of the FDCPA, you have legal recourse. The Act provides that if the collector intentionally disobeys or does not act in good faith of the law, you are, “entitled to a refund of all loan finance charges or credit service charges and has the right to recover three times the amount of such loan finance charge or credit service charge together with reasonable attorney’s fees.”

How Do I Collect On a Debt?

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to file a demand letter. This is sent by your attorney and, true to its name, “demands” payment of a debt if the person who owes you has refused to do so. What does an effective demand letter contain?

  • It’s written on an attorney letterhead, and contains the signature of a licensed attorney.
  • The parties involved, disputes in question and other important facts is important.
  • The attorney will specify who he represents (you) as well as the amount in demand and why you are entitled to the money.
  • Usually, any correspondence, invoices or contracts between you and the debtor will be attached as well.

A demand letter accomplishes more than just showing them that you are serious about collecting; it can start the clock on interest payments, and may qualify you to seek compensation for any attorney fees. If your other avenues of collecting – phone calls, letters or emails – have not been successful, a demand letter usually persuades the debtor to avoid a lawsuit.

Why Have an Attorney Send the Demand Letter?

You may be wondering why you can’t send a demand letter yourself, especially if you’re worried about the cost of having an attorney do it. A demand letter sent by an attorney does more than establish credence for your case; it can be crafted to seek compensation for the extra expenses of pursuing a debt, and has more reliable proof of delivery. Plus, you are usually required to file one prior to litigation.
While other attorneys may charge a retainer or hidden fees, the Smiley Law Firm will file the letter and advise you on collecting debt if the demand letter doesn’t work, all for one flat fee. A demand letter puts the law on your side should a court hearing become necessary to collect your debt. If you’re looking to recoup money owed, Smiley Law Firm will fight on your behalf to ensure you are paid. Call the firm immediately to pursue legal action or talk about your potential case. 

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