The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to give consumers protection from the aggressive debt collection tactics often used by debt collection agencies and debt collectors. If the FDCPA is violated when a bill collector tried to collect from you, you have a variety of protections available.
Depending on your outcome goal for resolving the problem, you can do anything from suing the debt collector to filing a complaint with a government agency for the bill collector’s violations. You might even opt to use the FDCPA violation as a negotiation tactic for reducing your debt.
How Do I Sue?
You can file a lawsuit against the debt collector for illegal collection practices in state court. It must be proven that the debt collector did violate the FDCPA guidelines. If you are successful with your lawsuit, you could collect $1,000 in statutory damages. You might collect more if the violations caused you harm.
Most of the time, the consumer is represented by a lawyer. When seeking damages, the consumer asks for attorney’s fees and court costs. While it can be time-consuming to pursue a case in state court, a successful FDCPA lawsuit could lead to the highest monetary damages being awarded to the consumer.
You could sue the debt collector in small claims court and do so without the help of a lawyer. You can argue your own case. The process is usually much faster, with a shortened hearing to argue the case before a judge. A simple court document is filed to get the lawsuit underway.
When you go to the initial hearing, the judge might rule, or the judge could place the case “under submission” then issue a ruling, sent by mail, later. There is a limit to the amount you can get through small claims court, so check your state’s limits before opting to go this route.
What if a Debt Collector is Breaking the Laws, Should I Sue?
If a debt collector is breaking the laws, you need to maintain evidence and documentation. You can sue the debt collector for violating federal and state laws. If you are being harassed at work, keep any notes given to you by the office staff about phone calls received. If you are getting calls in the middle of the night, note the date and time. Keep the calls on caller ID and save any voicemails that you might receive.
If you receive threatening messages, keep those as well. Or, if you receive mail where you are threatened with physical harm or legal action that they do not plan to take, you should keep proof of those as well.
Consult With a FDCPA Attorney About Suing a Debt Collector
If you have been harassed by a debt collector and you believe they have violated the FDCPA, you should consult with an FDCPA attorney. The lawyer will review your case and no charge and determine the best way to proceed with a lawsuit against the unscrupulous debt collector or collection agency. Get your free case evaluation today, so you can get your claim on track and file suit against the collection agency.