When it comes to dealing with a debt collection agency, it can seem like no one is out there who can help. If the communication with that debt collection agency gets to the point where the debtor is facing harassment and even illegal collection techniques by the debt collection agency, it can be even worse.
However, there are individuals who can assist someone who is considering pursuing an FDCPA claim. 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 (FDCPA) is part of a larger Consumer Protection Act. Created in 1977, it was meant to protect debtors who are facing unfair or illegal consumer debt collections actions. The FDCPA details what activities a consumer debt collector cannot do, including the following:
- Threaten or harass the debtor;
- Call the debtor at what are considered “odd” hours, including very early in the morning or after hours;
- Make false statements about the debts on which they are collecting;
- Threaten a lawsuit against the debtor when they have no intent to file suit;
- Continue to make collection efforts even though the debtor advised them to stop;
- Make false or misleading statements in printed collection documents;
- Reporting inaccurate information about the debtor to a credit bureau.
This list of prohibited activities tells the debtor what cannot be done. If the debtor believes that the collection agency has done one of the above, who can they contact?
The debtor has the ability to file a lawsuit for damages in small claims court as well as state court. Before doing this, it is almost always recommended that he or she meet with an attorney for a consultation on the situation.
When searching for an attorney, it is important that he or she finds someone who handles debt collection cases, specifically consumer debt. An attorney will normally meet with the client for an initial consultation for free to review the evidence and facts of the case to see if a case is even viable.
If the consumer attorney believes the client has a valid FDCPA claim, no cost is associated with hiring that attorney. The reason for this is, in addition to the monetary damages given to the client, FDCPA claims, if they are successful, also compensate the attorney for reasonable legal fees.
This way the client does not have to put him or herself into deeper debt to hire an attorney and the attorney receives the satisfaction of being paid for services.
Clients are always able to take these matters to court without the assistance of an attorney, but proving monetary damages when it comes to matters such as physical or emotional distress, can be complicated and the hearing can be stressful if the individual does not have any legal background.
Government Agency Assistance
If the debtor simply wants to stop this type of behavior and to prevent this from happening to another individual facing a similar situation, the individual can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC is the government agency in charge of overseeing consumer debt collectors and ensuring that these debt collectors abide by the FDCPA. Online complaints regarding FDCPA violations can be submitted via the FTC’s Complaint Assistant by going to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
The debtor can also contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This agency takes complaints from consumers and forwards these to the creditor.
The CFPB also works with the consumer and the creditor to get a solution to the dispute between the two. Online complaints can be sent at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint.
Lastly, the debtor can report the creditor or debt collection agency to the debtor’s state Attorney General’s office. This office may be able to give him or her some guidance on how to proceed with an FDCPA lawsuit as well as any other legal remedies the debtor may have against the collector.
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, 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.