Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – Creditor Harassment Defense
Have debt collectors started to harass you? Are they yelling at you or calling your friends to collect your debt? The law limits the actions debt collectors can take when asking you to pay a bill. Fields Law Firm knows debt collection law and the limits placed on debt collectors. Our attorneys will reign in debt collectors and give you back your piece of mind.
If you are like most of our clients, you would pay your debts if you had the money. For some reason, debt collectors never seem to understand that simple fact. They bombard you with phone calls and letters. They may call you names, and treat you rudely. None of this is going to help you get your debts paid.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) bars all forms of unfair, abusive, and deceptive collection practices. The FDCPA provides a laundry list of potential violations, together with general prohibitions on any form of deception, abuse, or unfair treatment. Despite FDCPA protections, debt collectors continue to use abusive tactics to pressure consumers into paying debts.
The FDCPA allows the consumer a remedy. By contacting our law firm, an attorney will listen to the facts and circumstances of your case and determine whether or not a debt collector has violated the FDCPA.
Congress designed the FDCPA to prevent these social maladies by giving consumers the right to hold debt collectors that violate the FDCPA accountable for their illegal conduct. Even if you owe the debt, you can still sue a debt collector that violates your rights under the FDCPA.
If you have been treated poorly by debt collectors, we can help. Many times our debt settlement lawyers can represent you for free and can sue debt collectors on your behalf. Not only will these claims not cost you anything, but you could be entitled to receive cancellation of your debt, reimbursement of actual damages, and statutory damages up to $1,000.
Fields Law has brought countless lawsuits against parties that have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and made our clients thousands of dollars. If creditors are harassing you, call the debt settlement attorneys at Fields Law today. We can protect your rights and help you put them on the defense.
It’s important to understand two significant things about the FDCPA. First, it only applies to consumer debts. In other words, business debts are not covered by the FDCPA. Second, the FDCPA only applies to someone who is collecting the debt of another. For example, if you have an unpaid Capital One credit card and Capital One themselves is trying to collect the debt, they aren’t collecting the debt of another and the FDCPA doesn’t apply.
With those two things in mind, it is a violation of the FDCPA if a debt collector:
- lies or misleads you
- yells, shouts, swears, calls you names, or uses racial slurs
- calls your friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors and tells them that you owe a debt
- threatens to sue you or garnish you when they have no intention to do so
- calls you at work after you’ve told them not to
- tells you that you can be arrested or go to jail if you don’t pay the debt
- calls you when they know you have a lawyer
- any other conduct that is unfair, untrue, undignified, or disrespectful
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you have the right to sue them, and if you win the case, you could receive up to $1,000.00, plus any actual damages that you’ve suffered including your attorneys’ fees and any out-of-pocket costs. In other words, if you win your case, you get up to $1,000, any verifiable actual damages, a free lawyer, and your litigation costs paid for.
If you’re getting debt collection calls or letters, here are a few things you should do to protect your rights:
- Save every letter you get from a debt collector, including the envelope
- Take detailed notes of every conversation you have with a debt collector
- Save every voice-message left by a debt collector
Who Qualifies As A Debt Collector Under The FDCPA?
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them. It’s important to note, your original lender is not subject to these laws, only a debt collection agency or law firm that is collecting on their behalf.
What Types of Debts Are Covered Under The FDCPA?
The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an automobile loan, a medical bill, and your mortgage. However, the FDCPA does not cover business-related debts.
What Practices Are Off Limits For Debt Collectors?
Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, debt collectors may not:
- use threats of violence or harm;
- publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies);
- use obscene or profane language; or
- repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.
False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
- falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
- falsely claim that you have committed a crime;
- falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
- misrepresent the amount you allegedly owe;
- indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or
- indicate that papers they send you aren’t legal forms if they are.
Debt collectors are also prohibited from saying that:
- you will be arrested if you don’t pay your alleged debt;
- they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or
- legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.
Debt collectors may not:
- give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company;
- send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t; or
- use a false company name.
Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
- try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you allegedly owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge;
- deposit a post-dated check early;
- take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; or
- contact you by postcard.
Contact Fields Law Firm today if a debt collector has done any of the things listed above, or if they do anything that just doesn’t seem right to you. The Consumer Law attorneys at Fields Law Firm can help you figure out whether the debt collector has violated the FDCPA. If they have, we can discuss whether suing them is the best option for you.