Debt collectors must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), if they fail to do that, they have violated federal collection laws. Some states have additional laws in place to help protect consumers.
The FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers from unscrupulous debt collection practices. Debt collectors cannot use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices against consumers when trying to collect debts. There are numerous laws on both the federal and state levels that limit what a debt collector can do.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also help govern the reporting of debts and how debt collectors can contact you. When the FDCPA has been violated, you can sue a collection agency for violating the laws.
More People Have Opted to Sue a Collection Agency
According to the Consumer Financial Services Law Monitor*, the number of lawsuits regarding consumer finance issues increased during May 2017. While the number of FDCPA violations had decreased to that point last year, the FDCPA lawsuits still made up more than half of the consumer finance lawsuits filed up to that point in the year.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) saw a 27% increase over complaints from 2016 to 2017. Debtors file complaints against debt collection agencies with the CFPB for unscrupulous and deceptive practices. You can sue a collection agency for violating the FDCPA or state laws regarding collections.
What Are FDCPA Violations and Can I Sue If They Are Violated?
There are several things that warrant a FDCPA violation. These violations must be documented, and all evidence must be maintained to support your allegation. You can have a successful lawsuit if you can prove the FDCPA was violated.
Here are some examples of the FDCPA being violated. If any of these things have happened, you can sue a collection agency for the violations.
- The debt collector cannot provide proof that you owe the debt.
- You have been harassed by the collector. You receive repetitive phone calls, you have bene cursed, or you have been threatened.
- The debt collector lies. If the debt collector says you owe less or more than you do, they claim to be an attorney when they are not, or they threaten a lawsuit when they have no right to sue you, then they have violated the FDCPA. There is a statute of limitations for pursuing a debt in every state, and if the company threatens legal action after that time, then the FDCPA has been violated.
What to Do To Protect Yourself and How to Sue a Collection Agency
To prepare to sue a collection agency, there are several things that you can do. Here are a few tips:
- You should know how to respond. The CFPB offers five letters that can be used as samples for responding to debt collectors. These provide the right wording to request additional information about the debt, how to dispute the debt, and restricting the times and how the calls can be made by the debt collector.
- Maintain detailed, accurate records. This means you should record conversations and write down the date and time that collectors call. Keep voicemails, letters, and any other forms of communication, such as notes from the office at work indicating that they called.
- Talk with a lawyer. If you are facing off with a collection agency, consult with a FDCPA attorney. Don’t assume you cannot afford a lawyer. They will provide you with a free case evaluation and determine the best way to proceed with your lawsuit against a debt collector. Fill out the form on this page to be connected with a lawyer who may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve.