If you feel that collection agencies have violated your rights with harassment and mistreatment, you may be able to file a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and collect compensation, also called damages. The FDCPA was founded in a 1977. As an act of Congress, its original purpose was to amend the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Today, the FDCPA gives protection to consumers against mistreatment and abuse from collection companies.
There are strict guidelines as to what collection companies can and cannot do in regard to consumers. Collection agencies are not allowed to be profane or threatening, contact other parties about your debt, or contact you outside of certain times. They are required to practice honesty and privacy, follow the law, and send documentation by mail of the debt.
If you live in California, there is another act that provides additional protection from unethical collection practices. This is known as the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or CFDCPA. Enacted on January 1, 2014, the CFDCPA puts additional regulations on debt collectors with regular FDCPA. It is also referred to as the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA). Any company or corporation that collects debts or works in debt collection must comply with the regulations. The CFDCPA:
- Includes original debt collectors.
- Regulates companies that collect debt on the behalf of others.
- Only applies to companies that regularly collect debts, not to those that occasionally collect debt.
- Also does not apply to foreclosures.
- States that a consumer can only be sued where the borrower lived when they incurred the debt, where the borrower currently resides or in the county where the debt was incurred.
- States that collection companies are not allowed to call more than once a day or call anyone else other than the consumer regarding his or her account.
There are several ways that you can file a claim against a collection agency that violates the FDCPA. You can file in small claims court, with the FTC or with the state attorney general. However, we recommend that you file the claim in state court. You will have the opportunity to present all of your case materials, and you have the opportunity to collect the largest amount of damages possible. Usually, you will have one year from the date of the incident in which to file.
You will have a wide range of attorneys who handle collection claims. These attorneys can be located by contacting the bar association or doing an online search of collection attorneys. Also, consumers can research collection attorneys on the internet.