If you have fallen behind on bills, you understand the pressure of catching up can trigger physically draining stress and anxiety. Add to your financial mess the overly aggressive tactics used by a debt collection agency, and you have what appears to be an insurmountable problem on your hands.
Fortunately, a federal consumer protection law passed by the United States Congress gives consumers hope in the fight against third party debt collector harassment and intimidation.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a bill collector like Shaffer & Associates is prohibited from engaging in numerous previously legal debt collection practices. The FDCPA also grants consumers the right to file claims seeking monetary damages.
Do You Have a Valid Claim?
The urge to fight back against Shaffer & Associates by filing a lawsuit against the debt collection agency can overwhelm common sense. Not every consumer contacted by a third party debt collector is eligible to file a claim in a civil court.
In fact, you should hand your case over to a licensed consumer protection attorney who has compiled a record of winning FDCPA cases. You lawyer will perform a thorough review of your case to decide whether filing a claim is the right thing to do.
A lawsuit not only costs a lot of money, the legal action also will take a considerable amount of your time.One of the things your attorney will look for is one or more clear violations of the FDCPA.
The federal consumer protection law bans the technique of issuing threats to coerce consumers into taking action. Shaffer & Associates cannot threaten to file a lawsuit against you, although the bill collector is completely within the law by filing a lawsuit in civil court.
The debt collection agency is barred from threatening to contact a friend or a relative, as well as threaten you with a wage garnishment order.
Damages Allowed by the FDCPA
The FDCPA gives consumers the legal power to seek two types of monetary damages. As the most common type of just compensation, statutory damages represent the money awarded for every FDCPA violation committed by a debt collection agency.
Your attorney will be responsible for proving one or more violations of the FDCPA. Actual damages are payments made by third party debt collectors to take care of expenses that are directly related to one or more FDCPA violations.
For example, you might suffer from skin rashes that were triggered by the fear and anxiety of having to deal with an overly aggressive bill collector. Actual damages awarded for physical duress symptoms cover the cost of medical diagnosis and treatment.
Work with a Licensed FDCPA Attorney
By working with a licensed FDCPA lawyer, you gain the legal power to fight back against a third party debt collector such as Shaffer & Associates. It is virtually impossible for you to file a claim on your own and then expect to win a favorable judgment from a civil court judge.
By scheduling a free initial consultation with a highly rated consumer protection attorney, you start the ball rolling toward the day when you file a claim against Shaffer & Associates.
*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 Shaffer & Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.