You arrive home from work after a stressful day to find more stress waiting for you on the landline voice messaging machine. One of the messages is from a debt collection agency, which makes it the second message left by the same company over the past 10 days.
This time, the message from the third party debt collector is delivered with an intimidating tone, as the company has threatened to garnish your wages to take care of an outstanding credit card account.
The threatening phone call left on your home voice messaging machine violated three provisions of a landmark federal consumer protection law. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a bill collector such as Ability Recovery Services cannot threaten you in any way.
The FDCPA also prohibits debt collection agencies from contacting third parties regarding your debt. Numerous court decisions have declared that leaving voice messages concerning consumer debts constitutes the definition of contacting a third party. Finally, by not validating your debt, the third party debt collector violated the FDCPA.
What Does “Validating Your Debt” Mean?
Before handing over your hard earned money to a bill collector, you have to make sure the debt in question is legally your responsibility to pay off. By law, debt collection agencies must send consumers a letter of debt validation that details how much is owed on a debt and with what company the debt originated.
In addition, the FDCPA clearly gives third party debt collectors five days after the first contact with a consumer to send a debt validation letter. The voice message left 10 days after the first voice message means the bill collector violated the FDCPA by not complying with the five-day rule.
When a Debt Validation Letter Creates More Questions
Let’s assume Ability Recovery Services complied with the FDCPA by sending you a debt validation letter within five days of initially contacting you. The debt validation letter might generate more questions than answers, especially when it comes to the name of the original creditor.
If you have any questions as to the validity of the debt in question, you can request a clarification letter from the bill collector. Clarification letters work best primarily for two circumstances. First, a clarification letter might deter a debt collection agency from using overly aggressive debt collection tactics.
Second, a clarification letter can give you more information to ensure you are paying off the right consumer debt.
The Right to Seek Monetary Damages
You have the right under the FDCPA to make a deceptive and overly aggressive debt collection agency pay for its lawbreaking ways. The most common financial award handed out in FDCPA cases is called statutory damages. With a maximum financial award of $1,000, statutory damages cover all of the FDCPA violations committed by the same company.
To bolster your case in front of a civil court judge, you should work with a licensed consumer protection attorney who specializes in handling FDCPA cases. Your FDCPA lawyer will conduct an exhaustive review of your case to gather the evidence required to move forward with the filing of a lawsuit.
Schedule a free initial consultation today with an experienced FDCPA attorney.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Ability Recovery Services, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.