The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) can provide damages to any consumers who feel that they were subject to harassment or ill treatment by collection agencies. The FDCPA was created in 1977 by an act of Congress. Originally, it amended the Consumer Credit Protection Act. As of 2015 it serves as protection against illegal and unethical practices that some collection companies employ against consumers.
The FDCPA regulates both what is allowed and what is forbidden by collection companies. A collection agency is not allowed to contact consumers outside of certain times of day, use profanity or threats or contact others about a consumer’s debt. They should contact the consumer in writing about the debt, respect privacy, follow the law, and be honest.
Under the FDCPA, there is a difference between the original creditor and other creditors. The original creditor is defined as the organization that originally provided the loan. FDCPA does not apply to original creditors. Even if an original creditor tries to collect on behalf of a third party creditor, FDCPA is still not applicable. The original creditor must use its original name in all correspondence and contact to avoid being subject to the FDCPA.
Other creditors are defined as any organization who:
- Has purchased a loan from an original creditor. May be referred to as a loan buyer or a third-party debt collector.
- Is a collection attorney.
- Is a debt collection agency.
- Is servicing a loan for an original creditor.
All of these generally are subject to the FDCPA. Loan buyers and loan servicers are generally not subject to the FDCPA if the loan was bought by them or serviced by them before the loan went into default.
A consumer can file a claim in several ways if he or she feels that the FDCPA was violated. All of the methods can bring a successful result. A claim can be filed with state attorney general. Secondly, a claim can be filed with the FTC. Another option is to file in small claims court. The final, and most recommended method, is to file in state court.
The chances of being able to present all evidence is the greatest here. Also, the possible damages settlement is highest in state court. For the most part, a consumer has one year from the incident date to file a claim. Many attorneys specialize in collection claims. Click here for a free evaluation of your case and to connect with a lawyer who will help ensure that your rights are not further violated by predatory collection agencies..