A federally enacted law, the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to oversee consumer debt collection practices ensuring they are fair and that consumer debtors are not mistreated. The FDCPA provides precise instructions as to how debts are to be confirmed and how consumers can dispute the validity. The law specifies what time of the day collectors can call and the specific number of times they can make contact within a specified timeframe.
If you have been the victim of a debt collector who does not adhere to the FDCPA in the District of Columbia, you could be eligible for $1,000 or more in damages. You should consult with an FDCPA attorney in the District of Columbia so you can stop the harassing debt collection calls.
The District of Columbia's FDCPA Laws and How They Work
There are three different components of the D.C. FDCPA. The law's first component is a criminal provision that keeps bill collectors from alleging they are government affiliated. The second component prohibits deceptive marketing, such as selling items that have been refurbished as new items. The third component restricts the practices pertaining to debt collection, which limits the calling frequency and hours.
The D.C. Act applies to any person who is a debt collector, which means anyone who is directly or indirectly involved with consumer debt collection practices and even creditors who are collecting debts.
Differences in the General FDCPA Laws and the D.C. FDCPA
While there are similarities between the federal laws and the laws enacted by D.C., there are differences as well. As previously mentioned, the term "debt collector" is expanded in the D.C. Act. It refers to basically anyone who is collecting a debt, including the original creditor. In the federal legislation it only refers to third-party debt collectors. The D.C. Act refers to most consumer debts, which may include consumer leases, charge accounts, and credit card bills. If the bank is subjected to D.C.'s interest rate laws, car loans also apply.
The D.C. Act does not cover any collection related to mortgages. Both laws prohibit deceptive practices and the D.C. law specifies trickery is prohibited. While the FDCPA permits the debtor to seek damages of up to $1,000 from debt collectors who violate the federal laws, the D.C. Act can sue for damages suffered as a result of the collector's actions. If the consumer is seeking damages of less than $5,000 it can be taken to small claims court, while those seeking more damages need to pursue a civil suit in a higher court.
Consult with an FDCPA Attorney
If you have been the victim of illegal debt collection practices, you should consult with a District of Columbia FDCPA attorney. An FDCPA attorney will ensure your rights are protected. Your attorney will pursue civil action so you can request compensation for your damages and will make sure the harassment is put to an end. Because of the complicated way the FDCPA works, you will fare much better with the help of an FDCPA attorney. With the legal guidance of an attorney, you can ensure your rights are protected.