Living in debt can be an extremely stressful experience alone–having to deal with money stress is enough without piling on the added stress of debt collectors harassing you. However, even if you do owe a debt, that does not give third-party collectors the right to harass you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects people from creditor harassment, including calling at inconvenient users, using profane language, and contacting outsiders about your debt. This behavior, is unacceptable, and if you feel that your rights have been violated, you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney; a lawyer would have the best sense of how you should proceed.
Alabama’s Specific FDCPA Laws
In Alabama, the statute of limitations on an unliquidated account is three years, and it’s six years for a liquidated account. If a third-party collector is attempting to take action after those time markers, then they are breaking the law.
Although Alabama doesn’t have the most robust consumer protection laws, it does have one additional consumer rights law that can be useful to you and your lawyer. It’s called the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The Act expands upon the FDCPA by applying not just to collectors, but also the original debt creditors. This is helpful to the consumer because the FDCPA is only applied to third-party collectors, which means that an original creditor (such as a bank) could call you as much as they would like.
One important thing to keep in mind is that with the DTPA, before you can sue, you have to submit a pre-lawsuit letter to the debt collector in order give them a chance to respond and rectify the situation.
How Alabama’s Act Bolsters the FDCPA
Along with the DTPA, Alabama is also covered by the FDCPA. Even though it doesn’t apply to original creditors, the FDCPA stipulates that collectors cannot:
- Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. in your time zone
- Talk about your debt with anyone but you, your spouse, and/or your attorney
- Threaten to seize your property
- Continue to harass you after you have sent them a written request not to
- Try to collect a debt you’ve already paid
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the rights violations of the FDCPA, but you can find a longer list of rights violations to see if you qualify.
Talk to An Attorney Today
Experiencing harassment from a creditor in Alabama makes an already stressful situation far worse. As a consumer and a citizen, you do not deserve to be badgered and abused by irresponsible creditors. Hiring an attorney has the benefit of stopping the calls immediately–creditors can’t continue to communicate with a consumer who has hired an attorney.
With the help of an attorney, you can stop these people from bothering you and other innocent consumers. Each FDCPA violation costs the creditor $1,000, which would discourage them from continuing their bad behavior. Plus you won’t need to worry about paying them since FDCPA attorneys work their fees into your settlement. An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve and give creditors the warning that they need to stop their harassment.