When it comes to submitting an FDCPA claim, evidence is key. To show that the debt collector was violating ethical and legal practices while pursuing collection on a consumer debt, the consumer needs to show that the violations actually occurred.
A court will not take one person’s word over another’s. Rather, evidence will need to prove the debtor’s claim that they have been subject to FDCPA violations. We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
What Needs to Be Proven?
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits certain types of activities from happening when a debt collector is attempting to collect on a consumer debt.
These actions include threatening or harassing the debtor, calling him or her during odd hours of the day or night, threatening to file a law suit to collect the debt when they have no intention of pursuing a law suit, making false statements about the debt owed, threatening criminal charges, contacting friends or family of the debtor, reporting fake information to a credit bureau and engaging in any acts that would be prohibited under the act.
Therefore, when submitting the claim, the debtor needs to prove that this behavior happened through whatever evidence is given.
One of the best pieces of evidence is written communication. Keep any emails or letters received from debt collectors.
Not only does this show a level of harassment and continued contact, but these documents normally have information about how much they are alleging the debtor owes and contact information for the debt collector and even the original creditor.
Also keep any documents showing inaccurate statements or misrepresentations on the debt itself.
Specifically keep all communication showing abusive, profane or obscene language from the debt collector or anything that indicates violent measures will be taken to collect on the debt.
If any communication has been sent to a third party about the debt, get that communication from those individuals, as well, as it will need to be given to the judge and these individuals may need to testify as witnesses.
A good rule of thumb is, if it is in writing and involves the debt collection, keep the paperwork.
Names and Contact Information
A debtor will talk to numerous individuals throughout the course of a debt collection action. The people who do the cold calling on debts tend to just be hourly workers who are paid to hunt down people who owe on a debt.
However, if at all possible, keep track of the names and contact information of who calls and when. This information may be needed later if these people need to be reprimanded personally or need to be called as a witness if the creditor disputes that the debt collection was taking place.
Recording Phone Calls
Under the FDCPA, if a debt collector is recording the phone conversation, this information has to be relayed first to the individual before the recording can take place. States vary on the legislation as to whether this is mandatory and whether the debtor’s consent is mandatory to continue.
Always ask if the conversations are recorded, and if they are recorded, you have the right to submit a subpoena to get records of these conversations. The same would go for any times messages are recorded on the debtor’s phone.
If he or she has saved voicemails from the debt collector where they have risen to the level of harassment, the debtor has the right to submit this information as evidence, as well.
State laws vary on whether the debtor is able to record and use phone calls, as well, so it is important that the debtor consults a consumer attorney to verify if this is the case for the debtor’s particular state.
The attorney can also ensure that all evidence is prepared and submitted to the court in the proper format according to the rules of evidence.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you find yourself dealing in the middle of stressful debt collection proceedings and you have questions about who can help you with an FDCPA claim and what evidence is needed to prove your claim, it may be time for you to talk with an attorney about your situation and what you can do to stop the harassment as soon as possible.
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.