Notice: We are still operating during the COVID-19 crisis. However, we are not allowing visitors to our office and most of our staff is operating remotely. Our attorneys and staff are still available to help you by phone and email. If you get our voice mail, please leave a message and it will be returned promptly. There may be delays with mail due to the crisis, so please try to send documents by email after submitting a contact form here or fax to 312-419-0379, if possible.

COVID-19 and shakeup in the debt collection industry

One of the larger collection agencies in the United States, Diversified Consultants, Inc., informed its employees that it will shut down permanently by April 30, 2020. Other collection agencies may suffer the same fate.

The debts in the hands of these agencies are most likely to be transferred to other agencies. Sometimes, when debts are transferred, there are problems with accounting for and crediting all payments and ascertaining the current balance on the debts.

In addition, the closure of collection agencies provides an opportunity for fraudsters to claim that they have the right to collect debts, when they do not. Such "phantom debt" collection is already a problem with payday and other high-interest loans, and can be expected to get worse.

If you are contacted by a debt collector that you were not previously dealing with respect to a debt, insist upon being furnished with the FDCPA- required written "notice of debt" explaining who is collecting from you and describing the debt they are trying to collect. Collectors who insist on payment without providing such a notice may be attempting to scam you. Other red flags include threats of imminent lawsuits, oral statements that you are being notified of a lawsuit (real collection attorneys and process servers don't do this), claims that your Social Security number will be adversely affected, calls from "mediators" (real mediators do not collect debts), and the refusal of a collector to provide the name of their company and their street address.

If you are having issues with the purported transfer of a debt to a collector you have not previously dealt with, please contact us. There is no charge for consultation. We are open and available to help, although most of our staff is working remotely.