Thousands of Americans are harassed by debt collectors on a daily basis, whether it is for credit card debt, medical bills, outstanding loans, or an overdue car payment. What many do not know is that Congress has enacted legislative protection for them against abusive, unfair, or deceptive debt collection practices. A collector who violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) can face a hefty fine, and the heckled debtor can sue to recover money and other damages.
The FDCPA applies to the debt collection agencies that are hired by credit card companies and other creditors. These agencies have been known to use unethical tactics in the past and are regulated under the FDCPA in a Congressional attempt to protect consumers.
The FDCPA can be used against creditors whose persistent collection activities have crossed the line. Collectors have gone so far as to contribute to a rising number of personal bankruptcies, marital instability, loss of a job and invasion of personal privacy. Given these potential consequences, Congress decided to monitor and restrict collection agencies. The FDCPA’s requirements and penalties are targeted towards 3rd party debt collection agencies. This means that a consumer has a better chance in a lawsuit against a debt collection agency hired by his/her creditor as opposed to a collector who works for a creditor in-house.
Under the FDCPA, a debtor who has been the target of a violation can recover if the collection activities are abusive, unfair, or deceptive. This leads to the question - what exactly are abusive, unfair and deceptive debt collection practices? Luckily, the FDCPA lists a wide range of actions fitting the definition. An attorney at JRQ & Associates, LLC can analyze a consumer’s claim against the entire list, which is quite lengthy. Some examples are listed below:
Any type of threat of violence or harm to any person or his/her reputation
Any false or misleading statement or representation about the amount of debt
Any use of profane language
Causing the phone to ring repeatedly
Continued collection efforts after request to stop
Continued collection efforts after a consumer has made it known they are represented by an attorney
Contacting the consumer in an unusual time, place or manner
Reporting or threatening to report inaccurate information to a credit bureau
As stated in its’ preamble, the FDCPA’s purpose is to protect the mental and financial stability of consumers dealing with debt collectors. It does this by penalizing debt collection agencies who violate its’ provisions. A debtor who is subject to collection practices that violate the FCDPA can potentially recover money damages for physical distress, emotional distress, lost wages (including wage garnishment), attorney costs, and statutory damages up to $1,000.00. In addition, the Court can order the debt collector to immediately stop calling and sending letters.
Although the FDCPA covers a wide range of common debt collection practices; an individual has the best chance navigating the Act’s complicated requirements with the help of an experienced attorney at JRQ & Associates, LLC. Attorneys’ fees and costs may potentially be completely covered by the offending debt collection agency, so individuals should not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer at JRQ & Associates, LLC to see whether or not they have a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.