The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, abusive, and harassing tactics to collect a debt and allows you to sue them if they do. So what are you entitled to under the FDCPA?
What Can I Get if I Sue a Debt Collector?
When bringing an action under the FDCPA you may be entitled to:
- Money damages;
- Attorney fees and costs;
- A court order stopping the collection calls; and
- In some cases, a debt waiver and/or a cleaned up credit report
What Does a Debt Collector Have to do Before I Can Sue Them?
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, abusive, or misleading tactics to collect a debt. Some tactics specifically mentioned in the Act include:
- Calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Causing a telephone to ring continuously
- Falsely representing the amount or legal status of a debt
- Using profane or obscene language
- Threatening to use violence to harm a consumer, their property, or their reputation
- Falsely implying that failing to pay a debt may cause a consumer to be arrested
- Impersonating a law enforcement officer
- Threatening to take any action that is not legal or intended
- Falsely representing that a consumer is committing a crime by not paying a bill
- Communicating with third parties about a consumers debt
- Collecting interest or fees not authorized by the original agreement
This is not an all inclusive list. The Act prohibits debt collectors from doing anything that is abusive, unfair, or misleading when attempting to collect a debt. If you feel that you have been abused or lied to by a debt collector, you may have a case against them.
The Act also requires debt collectors to provide consumers with the name and address of the original creditor, the amount of the debt, and notice that the consumer has 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt. The debt collector must do this in writing within five days of the initial communication if the information was not provided then and the debt is still unpaid. Many consumers are unable to get this information from debt collectors and therefore cannot verify that the debt even belongs to them.
At the Law Office of Paul Mankin, there are no upfront fees when you hire us to stop a debt collector or creditor from harassing you, and we only get paid if we win. If a debt collector or creditor is harassing or abusing you, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation case review.