An old router from an internet provider that we had a few years ago can return to our lives like a ghost that haunts us in the form of continuous and threatening calls from a collection company. It turns out that they claim the amount plus interest for 350 euros because we did not return it to the supplier at the time.
We allege that we asked to return it but nobody came to pick it up and there it stayed, in our previous apartment. The litigation is served, but in the meantime, The collection company will not stop until we get all or part of the debt paid claimed, since for them that is their business since they keep a percentage of it.
This is a typical example that ends up in a collection company: a debt that we do not recognize but that the company that provided us with the service does not recognize as its own error; The logical thing would be to settle it in court or before a consumer agency at the time, but it turns out that we only know about it when the recovery company claims us, with its aggressive methods and threats.
This is a typical example that ends up in a collection company: a debt that we do not recognize but that the company that provided us with the service does not recognize as its own error either.
Why didn’t the company that gave us the service claim us in the past, whether it was internet, telephony or energy? And what’s more: is it legal for us to claim it after a few years through a recovery company?
The answer to the first question is probably that maybe if they made an initial claim to us that did not reach us; perhaps because we changed our address, or maybe we did not value the letter at the time, etc. Anyway, maybe To save costs, they did not initially make such a claim. and pass it directly to the recovery company.
Non-regulated companies in Spain
Is that legal? According to the law firm ILM Lawyersthe procedure for claiming debts and the protocol of recovery companies it is not regulated in Spain or Portugal as it is in other EU countriesso there is no explicit obligation to claim the debt before handing over the task to one of the dating companies.
Another thing is to discuss the procedures of these companies, on which the Supreme Court has ruled that when “the humiliation or degrading action that these means described entail, threaten the dignity of the person […] and harm and injure the honor of the affected subject” are out of legality and therefore can be reported.
However, the question remains as to whether it is legal for a service company to transfer our financial and credit data to a collections company. In this case it is not necessary to go to any sentence of the Supreme, it is enough for us to go to the Spanish law on personal data protectionwhich dictates that when we explicitly transfer the processing of our data by third parties, we enable the transfer to recovery companies.
As to access most of the services we must transfer said treatment of our data, we can conclude that such transfer is legal, regardless of whether we are right in our litigation for the debt or that the methods used to claim us are humiliating and constitute harassment. ,
What rights do we have before a recovery company?
According to explains the Community of Madrid on its consumer information pageFor the action of the recovery company to be legal, the following requirements must be met:
- That debt is true, due and payable and that has been unpaid. In the event that we do not recognize it and we have opened a lawsuit in consumer arbitrationin courts of Justice or a claim in Agency of protection of data We will not be able to consider the debt as certain and therefore it cannot be claimed nor can we be included in any delinquent file.
- If the claim is submitted to a Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC) or to the General Directorate of Commerce and Consumption, whether of the Community of Madrid or another, it is not valid for these purposes, since its competence is mediator and non-resolvable.
- The creditor company You must show that there was a previous debt and that the term to pay it had expired without us having paid the corresponding amount. Therefore, let us demand invoices and papers before the threats, we have the right to do so.
- Before inclusion in a delinquent file, the company must make a prior request for payment, indicating that if we do not pay, the inclusion in the file will proceed.
- Whenever we sign any contract for the acquisition of products, or contracting services, they must warn us of the possibility of being included in a file of defaulters if we do not pay what is established in the contract.
How can we defend ourselves against a collection company?
The proceeding of recovery companies often exceeds immorality, if not illegality. calls, in threatening tone and without discriminating against the family member that receives them, they occur both during the day and at midnight, and they explain that we will have to pay the costs of the trial, the fees and even the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
We are thus warned that what could convert a small debt of 100 or 200 euros into another of 2000. This explanation is even given to older people who are in our charge, causing them an enormous anguishor teenage children.
The calls, in a threatening tone and without discriminating against the family member who receives them, occur both during the day and at midnight
This disturbs their image of us, at least momentarily. On the other hand, bullying is not limited to a few days, but is continuous for weeks or even months. One of the reasons for this often savage harassment is that there are only a few months left for the debt to prescribe, and the recovery companies buy the file packages at the balance price from the companies to squeeze the maximum collections before they reach the deadline. Hence their aggressiveness: they have nothing to lose and much to gain.
The term for a debt for the supply of energy or telecommunications services to prescribe is three years, so these types of companies usually appear just when there are a few months left for this to happen. From here we relate the main measures to defend against the claims of a recovery company.
The first is always actively appeal any claim of money with which we do not agree: we must make our claim to the company, ask them to record the call and demand written proof of our claim. In this way we block the possible access, at least in theory, of debt recovery companies, on the basis that it is illegal to transfer data of a debt that is appealed or in litigation.
If we are called by a collection company about a disputed debt, we will need to retrieve written evidence of our claim and go with it to the Data Protection Agency to denounce the claimant company -not the recovery company- for illegal transfer of data. It is a punishable infraction for which you must compensate us, in addition to disavowing the recovery company.
If the latter insists despite having reported us to the Data Protection Agency, we must report it to the competent authoritiesin this case corresponding consumer organisms.
On the other hand, we should also record the conversations we have with the agents of the recovery company to detect the tone and if there are threats, as well as to say out loud what time it is, in case it is early in the morning, so that it is recorded in the recording.
In this way we accumulate clues that can be used to file a criminal complaint by threats without foundation, when they do not have it, or by coercion. Regarding the alleged burden of the costs of the trial, it should be known that No company will sue us in court for a debt of less than 2,000 euros., since the costs of such an action far outweigh them in immediate outlay. For this reason we must not pay attention to these threats; They will not report us for 200 or 300 euros, nor for the 600 or more that they claim for interest.
Another tactic that we should use with collection companies is require them to send proof of debt, which certifies that it exists and that it has been assigned to this company; we have a right to it.
As they are sold by packages of tens of thousands of files, many times the recovery company does not have said receipt or it is not worth getting it, so they leave us alone.
Finally, it is important that we know when exactly prescribes our debt to know if the pressures of the recovery company proceed or not. When the debt expires, we must let them know so they leave us alone.
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