The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to protect consumers from the deceptive practices of debt collectors. The FDCPA indicates what a debt collector can and cannot do. If the debt collector violates the FDCPA, then you have the right to take action against the collection agency.
You have three options when a collection agency has violated the FDCPA. You can either file a complaint with a government agency and the collection agency will be fined, sue the collection agency in small claims court, or sue the collection agency in state court.
What is the Difference in Suing a Collection Agency in Small Claims Court and State Court?
If you sue a collection agency in small claims court, you are somewhat limited on your damages. Each state has maximum allowable payouts through small claims court. If your damages exceed that amount, you will be out of luck.
A small claims court cannot award more than the state maximum allowable amount. You can represent yourself in small claims court, and the case in much more likely to proceed quickly.
Small claims courts usually have faster court dates, so you will get resolution much more quickly. However, in a state court you will be able to recover more for your losses. You can recover $1,000 in statutory damages, your actual damages, legal fees, and attorney fees.
How To Sue a Collection Agency in Small Claims Court
To sue a collection agency in small claims court, you will need to complete the proper paperwork as required by the small claims court in your area. Usually, this is a simple one-page form.
You will need to gather up all your evidence and documentation that supports your case, so you can present it to the judge at the hearing.
You will not need an attorney for small claims court, but you should be aware that how much you can recover is very limited by your state laws. You cannot recover more than your state allows in such situations.
However, if you choose to sue a collection agency in state court, you can recover more damages, but will need a lawyer. In state court, you can recover $1,000 in statutory damages plus actual damages. You can also recoup legal fees and attorney costs.
Consult With a FDCPA Attorney About Suing a Collection Agency
If you have been harassed by a collection agency, or if the debt collector violated the FDCPA, you should consult with a FDCPA attorney.
With the help of a lawyer, you can get your lawsuit on the right track, stopping the harassing calls from the collection agency and by recouping compensation for the damages caused by the debt collector.
There is no charge to talk with a FDCPA attorney, and usually, the attorney can recoup his or her fees through the lawsuit when they win a judgment against the collection agency. Get your free case evaluation today by completing the form on this page.