Debtors who are facing collections cases find themselves dealing with anything but professional debt collectors on a daily basis. These calls can be persistent. In fact, many times, these individuals can be harassing to the point of becoming threatening.
If one of those companies is Regional Finance, it is important that the debtor understands his or her rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Debtors are protected under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects debtors from practices that are unfair and unethical by third-party debt collectors. The FDCPA is actually part of a larger law, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was enacted in 1977.
The FDCPA provides rules that third-party debt collectors, like Regional Finance, must follow when collecting on a consumer debt. If the third-party debt collector is found to have violated one of these rules, the debtor can seek legal recourse.
About Regional Finance
Regional Finance is a third-party debt collector headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina. The company is one of the larger collectors out here with over 300 offices in the following states: Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The company serves residents of these states, as well as those who border any of these states. Regional Finance has been accused of FDCPA violations, including harassing and disrespecting customers, showing up at the debtor’s work sites, forcing borrowers to pay full interest if the loan is paid off early, and refusing partial payments collected.
Determining If a Claim Exists
Before going any further, the debtor first must determine if an FDCPA claim exists. Has Regional Finance committed any of the “forbidden” behaviors under the FDCPA?
- Has Regional Finance has contacted the debtor at “odd hours,” which normally means any time before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.?
- Has Regional Finance made threats to the debtor or used threatening language when speaking with the debtor about the debt in question?
- Has Regional Finance threatened to sue the debtor when they have no intention of pursuing a legal claim?
- Has an employee of Regional Finance made threats to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right to do so?
- Has Regional Finance contacted the debtor at his or her place of employment after being told not to previously?
- Has Regional Finance contacted a third-party, other than the debtor, in an effort to seek information on the debt or disclosing information about the debtor?
- Has someone associated with Regional Finance made threats to file criminal charges against the debtor because of the debt?
If this behavior has occurred to the debtor by someone associated with Regional Finance, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court.
What Damages Are Available?
In an FDCPA case, the debtor can receive statutory damages in the amount of no more than $1,000. In addition to this amount, he or she can seek actual damages for physical or emotional distress caused from the harassing behavior.
If the harassment caused the debtor to lose time at work, the actual damages can include lost wages. In addition to these awards, the debtor can receive attorneys’ fees for having to file the claim.
Speaking with an Attorney
It is always recommended that a debtor speak with an attorney before pursuing an FDCPA case. One reason for this is the cost of failure can be costly. If the client fails at the case, he or she risks having to pay for Regional Finance’s legal fees.
A general rule of thumb is it should almost always be assumed that the other side will come to court with legal representation. It benefits the debtor to have a legal professional on his or her side, as well, to even the playing field.
*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 Regional Finance 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.