When someone is in the middle of collections proceedings, he or she may be fielding calls from multiple debt collectors at any given time. These calls can become both harassing and unprofessional depending on the collector involved.
If one of those companies is Scott and Associates, it is important the debtor understands his or her rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The first step is understanding what rights the debtor has under the law. Third-party debt collection proceedings are governed by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), which provides protection for debtors against unfair debt collection practices from third-party debt collectors, like Scott and Associates.
The FDCPA is part of a larger act, known as the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The FDCPA provides guidelines that third-party debt collectors must abide by when collecting on a consumer debt.
If Scott and Associates violates one of these rules, the debtor can seek compensation for damages sustained against the collector.
About Scott & Associates
Scott and Associates is a debt collection law office, headquartered in Texas. The company assists in debt collection in multiple states throughout the southeastern region of the United States. Scott and Associates was originally established in 2000 and was named Scott, Parnell & Associates.
The law firm provides services mostly to national banks and other creditors who hold consumer debt. They offer pre-litigation collection efforts and also file law suits to enforce client claims.
Determining If a Claim Exists
The FDCPA prevents third-party debt collectors from utilizing certain techniques when collecting on a consumer debt. This behavior includes:
- If Scott and Associates has contacted the debtor at what are referred to as “odd hours,” which normally means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;
- If Scott and Associates has made threats or used obscene or violent language when communicating with the debtor or other people connected to the debtor;
- If Scott and Associates has made threats to file a law suit against the debtor when they have no intention of pursuing one;
- If Scott and Associates has threatened to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right or no intention of pursuing a garnishment;
- If Scott and Associates has called the debtor at his or her place of employment when he or she has specifically stated that no personal calls are to be made there;
- If Scott and Associates has spoken with individuals other than the debtor in an effort to seek information on the debt or disclosing information about the debtor; or
- If Scott and Associates has threatened to file criminal charges against the debtor while collecting on the debt.
If any of the above behavior has occurred to the debtor by an employee or employees of Scott and Associates, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court.
Prior to filing a claim, however, the debtor must send a written notification to the debt collector, informing them that they have violated the FDCPA and that a claim will be filed. If the debt collector continues to contact the debtor at this point, an FDCPA violation can be filed.
What Damages Are Available?
If the debtor believes he or she has a valid FDCPA claim against Scott and Associates, he or she must determine what damages can be requested. First, the debtor can receive statutory damages in the amount of no more than $1,000.
On top of this amount, he or she can seek actual damages from Scott and Associates. Actual damages cover physical distress, including medical bills or treatment needed because of the physical distress caused as a direct result of the harassing behavior.
In addition, actual damages include emotional distress damages caused from the FDCPA violations. If the debtor lost wages or time at work, the actual damages can include lost wages.
Above all, the debtor must be show a connection between the behavior exhibited by Scott and Associates and the injury sustained. In addition, attorney’s fees needed to pursue an FDCPA claim can be reimbursed with the final award given, on top of filing fees and court costs.
Speaking with an Attorney
If the debtor has been subject to an FDCPA violation, an attorney should be consulted before filing a claim against Scott and Associates. If a case is brought and is not successful, the debtor risks the chance of having to pay for the Scott and Associate’s attorneys’ fees.
Scott and Associates is a law firm, so the debtor will almost always be at a disadvantage when going into court unrepresented. 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 Scott and Associates 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.