Has a debt collection agency been hounding you over the past few months? What started as subtle attempts to collect a delinquent credit card account have morphed into frequent phone calls at all hours of the day. You do not have to tolerate aggressive third party debt collector tactics.
In fact, a federal consumer protection law makes it clear that bill collectors must treat you with respect.
In response to growing consumer anger, the United States Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Closing in on its 50th birthday, the FDCPA specifies which bill collector tactics are considered illegal.
The FDCPA also includes punitive provisions, which permit consumers to file civil lawsuits, as well as seek monetary damages for the pain and suffering caused by debt collection agency harassment. You are also allowed under the FDCPA to file a complaint against a third party debt collector with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What Practices are Banned by the FDCPA?
Did you know the FDCPA prohibits debt collection agencies from using deception to force consumers into paying off outstanding credit card and personal loan balances? The FDCPA gives examples of deceptive debt collection tactics, such as making claims of contacting relatives in regards to your delinquent debt.
Other deceptive practices include impersonating a representative from a law enforcement agency. You do not have to put up with aggressive third party debt collector behavior as well. Some bill collectors like to issue threats and use abusive language in attempts to intimidate consumers into settling credit card and personal loan accounts.
Until you speak with a licensed consumer protection attorney, you might be unaware of the less publicized provisions of the FDCPA. For example, the FDCPA prohibits bill collectors from taking money out of consumer bank accounts, without first receiving approval in the form of a court-ordered wage garnishment decree.
Debt collection agencies are forbidden to request more money that is owed on a consumer debt, as well as try to collect on a credit card or personal loan account that has already been paid off. If a third party debt collector contacts a relative about your debt, you have the right to file a claim against the bill collector to make the phone calls stop.
The FDCPA and Monetary Damages
If your consumer protection lawyer proves a bill collector violated one or more provisions of the FDCPA, you might be eligible to receive statutory damages of up to $1,000 for the violations. Remember that statutory damages cover an entire FDCPA claim, not each violation of the federal consumer protection law.
Although statutory damages ease some of the sting of falling victim to illegal third party debt collector practices, your goal should be to recover every penny lost because of unethical debt collection practices. Emotional distress is often the by-product of illegal debt collection agency behavior.
However, proving the presence of emotional distress is more difficult to do than linking physical ailments to aggressive debt collection tactics. You also have the right under the FDCPA to recover lost wages and any money garnished from your paycheck.
Speak with an accomplished FDCPA lawyer today to learn more about how the groundbreaking federal law protects you against bill collector harassment.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Hunter Warfield, Inc. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.