The debt collection process can be extremely intimidating and stressful. Add harassing phone calls from debt collectors on top of that, and you have one anxiety-ridden situation. For many consumers, it gets to the point where the debt collectors who are contacting them violate fair debt collections practice.
It is at this point where the consumers may need to contact an attorney for help with a fair debts collection claim to stop debt collection abuse.
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act or FDCPA is a federal law created with purposes of regulating debt collections on consumer debts. It limits what actions debt collectors can take when trying to collect on a consumer debt on behalf of another person or entity. The FDCPA restricts when collectors can call, how many times the company can contact you, as well as what it can say to inform the consumer of the debt collection.
If a debt collector is found to be in violation of the FDCPA, a law suit can be brought against the debt collection company, and the person who is on the receiving end of the debt collection actions can receive monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
Notification to Stop Contact
If the consumer believes that the debt collection agency is violating the FDCPA, he or she must first provide written notification in a letter requesting that the company stop contacting you regarding the debt. In this letter, the consumer needs to indicate any illegal activities that have been committed by the debt collector.
This letter needs to also be sent to the Federal Trade Commission at 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20850. Once the debt collection agency receives the letter, it may only contact the consumer to inform him or her that the letter has been received, to tell you its efforts have now ended or to inform the consumer that it will be suing the consumer .
An attorney is not necessarily needed for this part of the process. Any person can write a letter and send it to the proper person and to the FTC, but the attorney may be needed for further proceedings.
If the Notification Does Not Work…
It is possible that the letter will end the harassment. It is also possible that it will not. If that is the case, a letter from an attorney may be the next step. The debt collector needs to know that the consumer is being serious, and many times, a sternly worded letter on an attorney’s letterhead will do just the trick, though debt collectors may ignore those letters at their own legal peril.
The fees for getting an attorney to do this can be pretty small and may end up being a simple flat fee.
It may be helpful to have an attorney help the consumer because, at that point, the consumer will no longer have to field communications from the debt collection agency. The debt collection agency will now have to go through the attorney, which will help some of the senseless, harassing contact.
The more it contacts an attorney’s office, the more it will need to pay for legal fees should an FDCPA claim be filed.
If communication persists from the debt collection agency, an FDCPA claim may be needed. The law is created to benefit the average consumer , but it is a federal law and, as such, it is important that the process be followed per the letter of the law.
An attorney will know the deadlines needed to file the claim and will know what forms to submit and how to proceed. In addition, if a law suit is filed, which is completely acceptable under the FDCPA, an attorney can handle the legal proceedings more efficiently and competently than the average individual filing without legal advice.
An attorney will then receive payment for legal fees from the judgment issued by the court at the end of the proceedings.
In the end, it is worth it to have the experience and professional assistance to make sure the claim is handled properly, quickly and accurately.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you find yourself dealing with debt collectors, and it has gotten to the point where the debt collector has now violated the FDCPA, it may be time for you to talk with an attorney about your situation.
An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in fair debt collections proceedings to schedule a consultation today.