If you’ve seen the name Harris and Harris on your caller ID, it’s a sign that a debt collection agency is attempting to reach you. Debt collectors like Harris and Harris specialize in collecting overdue debts from individuals and businesses.
You may have received calls from them, or they may have sent you letters or emails asking for payment.
The good news is that you have rights when it comes to debt collection, and there are ways to fight back if Harris and Harris is trying to collect a debt you don’t owe or attempting to collect a debt without following the proper legal procedures.
This article will provide an overview of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and what steps you can take if Harris and Harris is harassing you.
Who is Harris & Harris Ltd.?
Harris & Harris Ltd is a debt collection agency based in Chicago, Illinois. They specialize in collecting overdue payments from individuals who have failed to make their payments on time. This can include medical bills, credit card debt, loans, or other types of debt.
Like most third-party debt collectors, Harris and Harris act as an intermediary between you and the creditor. Often, they are hired by creditors to contact and collect payments from consumers.
Other times, they purchase delinquent debts from creditors and then attempt to collect payment directly from the debtor.
It’ll all start with a friendly reminder in the form of phone calls, emails, or letters describing the debt and trying to encourage payment. If that doesn’t work, they can take more aggressive steps, such as filing a lawsuit.
However, as a debt collector, Harris and Harris must follow the rules set forth by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in their debt collections process. This law protects consumers from abusive or deceptive debt-collection tactics.
Over the past five years, many consumer complaints have been filed with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) regarding Harris and Harris’ practices. the BBB debt collection complaint database records over 100 customer complaints about the company, with most citing actions they felt violated the FDCPA.
These complaints include reports of harassment, attempts to collect a debt that is not owed or outside the statute of limitations, and repeated calls to employers without permission.
Who does Harris & Harris collect for?
Harris and Harris collect debts for various creditors, including credit card companies, banks, healthcare providers, utilities, automotive lenders, and government agencies. They may also purchase debt from other debt collection agencies or take over accounts that have gone into default.
What Are Your Rights Under the FDCPA?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from unfair and aggressive debt collection activities.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is not allowed to harass, oppress, or abuse you in any way. This means they cannot threaten you with violence, use obscene language, make repeated calls at inconvenient times, call your employer or friends and family, or falsely represent themselves as a law enforcement officer.
In addition, the FDCPA requires debt collectors to provide certain information in their communications with you.
This includes the name of the creditor they are attempting to collect from, how much is owed, and how you can dispute or verify the debt if necessary.
Finally, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from attempting to collect a debt that is not legally owed or outside of the statute of limitations.
4 ways to remove Harris & Harris from your credit report
If Harris & Harris limited have reported a debt to any of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax), it will appear on your credit report.
This is a common practice for collection agencies and can negatively impact your credit score if the debt is not paid off.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can remove Harris and Harris from your credit report:
Verify that the debt is valid and current.
Sometimes, debt collectors attempt to collect on a debt that is not legally owed or outside of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitation is the maximum amount of time a creditor has to pursue a debt legally, which varies from state to state.
If Harris and Harris have sent you a notice of collection for a debt you are uncertain of, you can send a written request for debt validation.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to provide proof that you owe the debt and must cease collection efforts until they can do so. If they fail to provide evidence or the debt is outside the statute of limitations, follow the next step.
Dispute the debt with the credit bureaus.
If Harris and Harris cannot provide proof that the debt is valid or outside of the statute of limitations, then you can dispute the debt with the credit bureaus.
Disputing the debt with the credit bureau means you are questioning the accuracy of the information being reported to the credit bureau by Harris and Harris.
This can be done by sending a letter to the credit bureau explaining why you believe the information is incorrect.
It is essential to include any documentation that supports your dispute, such as proof that the debt is not valid or that it has already been paid.
Once the credit bureau receives your dispute, they will investigate the matter and update the information on your credit report if necessary.
It is important to remember that disputing the debt with the credit bureau may not necessarily remove the debt from your credit report, but it may help correct any inaccuracies.
Make efforts to repay the debt
If the debt is valid and has yet to pass the statute of limitations, then it is in your best interest to make efforts to repay it. If it’s within your budget and ability to do so, you should pay off the debt in full.
However, if you are struggling to make payments on the debt, reach out to Harris and Harris to see if they are willing to work with you on a debt settlement plan.
This could include lowering your monthly payments or extending the time you have to pay off the debt.
Once the debt is paid off, you can request that Harris and Harris update the status of the debt on your credit report to reflect that it has been paid.
Let a credit repair company assist you
If you feel uncomfortable dealing with Harris and Harris on your own, there are credit repair companies that can help you.
When working with a credit repair company, they will review your credit report, identify any errors or inaccuracies, and take the necessary steps to dispute them on your behalf.
They also help you create a plan for paying off any valid debts and provide counseling on improving your credit score moving forward.
What Should You Do if Harris and Harris Is Harassing You?
If you feel like Harris and Harris is harassing you in violation of the FDCPA or attempting to collect a debt that is not legally owed, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.
First, you should document all communication with Harris and Harris. This includes writing down the dates and times of any phone calls or emails and the exact content of each conversation.
You can also save copies of any letters they have sent you.
All this information can be used as evidence if you file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Write a Cease and Desist Letter
In most cases, sending Harris and Harris a cease and desist letter is the best way to stop their harassment. This letter should be sent via certified mail so that you have a record of delivery and receipt.
In the letter, make it clear that you are notifying Harris and Harris to stop all forms of communication with you and that any further contact may be a violation of the FDCPA.
File a Complaint
If Harris and Harris do not comply with your cease and desist letter, consider filing a complaint with the CFPB. The CFPB is responsible for enforcing the FDCPA, which prohibits debt collectors across the United States from using unethical or unfair tactics.
Furthermore, the CFPB may investigate your complaint and take action against Harris and Harris if necessary.
What happens if you are sued by Harris & Harris?
If Harris and Harris have decided to take legal action against you, it is essential to respond promptly. In most cases, debt lawsuits will include a summons that must be responded to within the period specified(usually 30 days).
If you fail to respond promptly, Harris and Harris may be granted a default judgment against you, which can be enforced through garnishment of wages or other collection actions.
If you are served with a summons, follow these steps to respond:
Review the Complaint
Review the complaint carefully and ensure you understand the allegations against you. Identify any errors or inaccuracies in the complaint and make a note of them.
File an Answer
File an answer to the complaint within the time frame specified in the summons. An answer is a legal document that responds to the allegations made in the complaint.
In your answer, you can deny the debt, dispute the amount, or raise any defenses you may have.
For example, if the statute of limitation for the debt has expired, you can raise it as a defense.
Seek Legal Advice
Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, the legal process, and the best action to take.
A lawyer can also help you to draft your answer and represent you in court if the case goes to trial.
Harris & Harris contact information
If you need to get in touch with Harris and Harris, their headquarters is located at 111 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60604.
You can also call them at 866-781-4538 (Toll Free) or 1-800-362-0097 (Toll-Free) to pay a debt.
Or to send mail, use the following address:
Harris & Harris, Ltd.
Attention: Consumer Assistance
111 W. Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
Harris and Harris is one among thousands of debt collection agencies operating in the United States. If you receive a call from Harris and Harris or see their name on your credit report, you’re not alone.
Many struggle to deal with debt collectors and the stress that comes with them.
While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or anxious, remember that you have rights under the FDCPA and can take action to stop any harassment.
Hopefully, this article has provided helpful information and resources to help you deal with Harris and Harris’s debt collection agency.
For more information on dealing with debt collectors and the FDCPA, fill out the form below to speak with a consumer advocate today.