This is not an infrequent complaint about debt collectors. If you speak with a debt collector on the phone, and he or she is encouraging you to make a payment on your debt, you may have the desire to make the payment. However, you may not have the money. If you know you are about to get paid or come into some money, and you tell the debt collector that, in many cases the debt collector will encourage you to send in a post-dated check. The collector will promise not to deposit the check before the date written on the check.
By law, a debt collector is allowed to ask you to write a post-dated check. However, if the debt collector cashes the check early, which happens often, whether on accident or purposely, you will have a problem to deal with. Although banks aren’t supposed to put checks through before the date that is written on them, it happens all the time – banks can’t catch every check that is post-dated. In addition to the problem of the check being deposited early, some debt collectors will use the information on the check to withdraw additional money from your account. They will also have information about your checking account to use later if they sue you.
Never give a check to anyone when you know that you don’t have enough money in your account to cover it. If you do bounce a check and can’t cover it, you may be facing criminal penalties or civil penalties. Your bank will charge you for that check and any other checks that bounce later.
If you have given a debt collector a post-dated check, and the debt collector deposited it early, you may be out of luck, or you may have a cause of action under a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA says that it’s illegal for a debt collector to take a check that is postdated by more than five days, unless the consumer is notified in writing of the debt collector’s intent to deposit the check between 10 and three days prior to the deposit. If the debt collector takes a check that’s postdated by more than five days, and gives no notification before cashing it, the collector may have violated the FDCPA.
By law, consumers have rights against debt collectors.
If you believe a debt collector may have broken the law, call California FDCPA attorney Paul Mankin at 800-654-9517. He will work hard on your behalf to fight debt collectors’ abusive practices.