When someone is in the middle of debt collection proceedings, he or she is probably fielding calls from multiple debt collectors. These debt collectors can be persistent to say the least, and many times, the behavior borders on harassment.
If Wakefield and Associates is one of these companies, it is important you understand your rights and what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
Before anything, the debtor must understand what his or her rights are under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, debtors are protected against unfair consumer debt collection practices of third-party collectors like Global Collection Agency.
The FDCPA is part of a larger law, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which was enacted in 1977. The FDCPA provides strict rules and guidelines that debt collectors are required to follow when collecting on a debt.
If a violation occurs, the debtor can seek compensation for damages sustained against Wakefield and Associates.
About Wakefield and Associates
Wakefield and Associates is a collection agency based in Aurora, Colorado. Founded in 1982, Wakefield and Associates focuses its collection business to help medical practices and facilities maintain their accounts receivable and collect upon defaulting accounts.
They do this through collection demand letters, direct phone calls, reporting to credit bureaus and by handling legal proceedings, including collection lawsuits.
Determining If a Claim Exists
Before going forward, the debtor must first establish if he or she has been victim to one of the actions listed in the FDCPA. This law prevents third-party debt collectors from committing certain actions that are considered unprofessional and unethical. Examples of FDCPA violations include the following:
- If Wakefield and Associates has contacted the debtor at “odd hours,” which normally means before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m (i.e. early in the morning or late at night).;
- If an employee of Wakefield and Associates has used language that is threatening or obscene when speaking with the debtor or other people connected to the debtor;
- If Wakefield and Associates or one of the company’s employees has made threats to file a law suit when they have no intention of pursuing a legal claim;
- If Wakefield and Associates has made threats to garnish the debtor’s wages when they have no legal right or no intention of pursuing a garnishment;
- If Wakefield and Associates has contacted the debtor at his or her place of employment, was told by the debtor to not contact him or her there again, but continued to do so;
- If Wakefield and Associates 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 Wakefield and Associates has made threats to pursue criminal charges against the debtor while collecting on the debt.
If the debtor has experienced any or all of above behavior, he or she may have a valid FDCPA claim to be filed in state court against Wakefield and Associates.
What Damages Are Available?
In all FDCPA claims, the debtor is entitled to receive statutory damages in the amount of no more than $1,000. In addition to the statutory damages amount, he or she can also seek what are known as “actual damages.”
These damages include compensation for physical distress, including medical bills for related injuries the debtor has sustained because of the FDCPA violations. In addition, actual damages can include emotional distress caused from the violations.
If the debtor has also had to lose time at work because of this harassment, he or she can seek lost wages. The important thing to know is, for actual damages to be awarded, the debtor must be successful in proving the violations occurred, proving that he or she was injured as a result and in showing a connection to the injury and the behavior exhibited by the debt collector.
In addition, attorney’s fees needed to pursue an FDCPA claim can be ordered, as well as reimbursement for legal costs and fees.
Contact an Attorney Today
As soon as a debtor believes an FDCPA violation has occurred by Wakefield and Associates, he or she needs to contact an attorney for a consultation before pursuing a claim. An FDCPA attorney can advise the client on what steps need to be taken to prove a successful FDCPA case.
If the case is unsuccessful, the debtor risks the chance of having to pay for the legal fees for the debt collector in having to defend the claim. The debtor should assume that a company the size of Wakefield and Associates will likely come to court with legal representation.
Having an attorney on the debtor’s side helps even the playing field and increases his or her chance of being successful.
*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 Wakefield 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.