If you are facing debt collections proceedings, you may find yourself dealing with debt collectors who are both harassing and unprofessional. If one of those companies is Harris & Harris Ltd., it is important you understand your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), debtors are protected against unfair debt collection practices of third-party collectors, such as Harris & Harris Ltd. The FDCPA is part of a larger law, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was entered into law in 1977.
The law gives specific rules and guidelines debt collectors must follow when collecting on a consumer debt. If Harris & Harris violates one of these provisions, the debtor can seek compensation for damages sustained against the collector.
About Harris & Harris Ltd.
Harris & Harris, Ltd. Is a Chicago-based debt collection firm filed as a Foreign for Profit Corporation in the State of Florida. The company has also been known as Bilco Credit Services, Business Credit Services and Balta Strategic Initiatives.
The principal office for Harris & Harris Ltd. Is located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plz,. Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois. The company, founded in 1968, strives to be considered one of the more ethical and compassionate collection companies out there.
Harris and Harris regularly works with Government Agencies, Utilities Services and Healthcare businesses.
Determining If a Claim Exists
As stated previously, the FDCPA prevents certain behavior from debt collectors who are attempting to collect on a consumer debt. This behavior includes:
- If Harris and Harris has called you at “odd hours,” which normally means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;
- If Harris and Harris has used threatening or violent language when communicating with the debtor or other people connected to the debtor;
- If Harris and Harris has threatened to file a law suit when they have no intention of pursuing one;
- If Harris and Harris has threatened to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right or no intention of pursuing a garnishment;
- If Harris and Harris has called the debtor’s place of business when he or she has specifically stated that no personal calls are to be made there;
- If Harris and Harris has communicated with third parties connected to the debtor in an effort to seek information on the debt or disclosing information about the debtor; or
- If you believe Harris and Harris has threatened to file criminal charges against the debtor while collecting on the debt.
If this behavior has occurred to the debtor by Harris & Harris, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court.
What Damages Are Available?
Once the debtor determines that he or she has a valid FDCPA claim against Harris & Harris, the next step is to determine what types of damages are available. In pretty much all FDCPA claims, if they are successful, the debtor can receive statutory damages in the amount of $1,000, regardless of damages sustained.
In addition, the debtor can also seek actual damages from Harris & Harris. These damages can include compensation for physical distress, including medical bills or treatment needed because of the physical distress caused as a direct result of the harassment.
In addition, actual damages can include emotional distress damages caused from the FDCPA violations. If the debtor has also had to lose time at work because of this harassment and stress, the actual damages can include lost wages. In addition, attorney’s fees needed to pursue an FDCPA claim can be reimbursed with the final award given.
Speaking with an Attorney
If a debtor believes he or she has been subject to an FDCPA violation, it is important that an attorney be consulted first before pursuing a claim against Harris & Harris. He or she can at minimum advise the client on what steps need to be taken to prove a successful case.
If a debtor brings a case and it is not successful, that debtor risks the chance of having to pay for the legal fees for the debt collector in having to defend the claim. Further, it should almost always be assumed that Harris & Harris, who is a large company, will come to court with legal representation.
It benefits the debtor a great deal to have a professional on his or her side, as well. This evens the playing field and ensures that all information and evidence is presented properly in proving the debtor’s case.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article is for information purposes only. It should not be used construed as legal advice. If you choose to file a claim against Harris & Harris Ltd or any other third-party collection agency, your claim may not be successful, and you may not be entitled to any compensation for your alleged injuries.