Many times, debt collectors go beyond what the law permits when they try to collect a consumer debt from you. They can harass, abuse, misrepresent, and make your life miserable. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is a federal law which can protect you from such illegal and wrongful conduct by debt collectors after you for credit card debt, medical bills, student loan debt, mortgage debt, etc. The FDCPA allows you to turn the tables and recover money from debt collectors if they are found to have violated the law. You can collect up to $1,000 in statutory damages in addition to actual damages. Also, because the law allows for the payment of attorney’s fee from a debt collector who has violated the FDCPA, we get paid by them – not you.
If you have been named in a lawsuit and sued for a consumer debt or if you have been harassed or abused by a debt collector, contact our office immediately. Any claim you may have against a debt collector must be brought within one year from the date of the violation, so don’t wait.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from conduct which includes such things as:
- Contacting you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Contacting you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls there
- Not disclosing that they are a debt collector when they contact you
- Threatening you with violence, harm or arrest
- Using obscene or profane language
- Calling you after you tell them to stop doing so
- Discussing your debt with unauthorized third parties
- Not sending you a “validation notice” within 5 days after the debt collector contacts you
- Lying or deceiving you
- Falsely claiming that they are attorneys or government representatives
- Falsely claiming that you have committed a crime
- Falsely representing that they operate or work for a credit reporting company
- Misrepresenting the amount you owe
- Indicating that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t
- Claiming you will be arrested unless you pay
- Suing you on an old debt that is no longer enforceable because the statute of limitations has expired
- Telling you that legal action will be taken against you if they have no intention of doing so
- Using a false company name
- Contacting you by postcard
- Trying to collect interest, fees, penalties or other charges in addition to the debt, unless permitted to do so by law or agreement
The above list does not list every possible violation that a debt collector can be liable for under the FDCPA. For that reason, you should contact an experienced debt collection defense lawyer to review the facts of your specific case and see if you have an FDCPA claim. Contact attorney Joseph M. Adams for more information.