Did A Collection Agency Make False Statements Regarding Your Debt?

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If you’ve fallen behind on your bills, or worse, being falsely accused of debt are not situations that you want to be in. However, there are resources to available. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1978 with the promise of stopping third-party debt collectors from harassing consumers and collecting debt in a transparent manner. If a debt collector makes false statements about your debt, they may be in violation of the FDCPA.

What False Statements Might Debt Collectors Make?

When a Debt Collection Agency calls you, under the FDPCA they cannot misrepresent the amount of money you allegedly owe or the status of the debt at hand. That means that:

  • The collection agency cannot say that you owe more than what your debt actually is.
  • The collection agency is not allowed to report false information to the credit bureaus regarding your alleged debt.

Debt collectors are also not allowed to make false or misleading statements, some common false statements that debt collectors allegedly make are:

  • Threatening to sue or garnish your wages;
  • Threatening to have you arrested or;
  • Threatening a lawsuit against you.

If a collection agency has made any of those threats to you, they may have violated the FDPCA and you could be awarded damages.

What You Can Do If A Collection Agency Makes a False Statement Regarding Your Debt

In 2018, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently that a debtor must show that a debt collector's alleged false representation was material for it to be a "false, deceptive, or misleading representation" in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

When the false statement is said to be “material”, that means that not only do you have to show that agency made false statements against you, but it impacted your ability to evaluate your options in some way.

Learn the Damages You May Be Entitled to

Debtors that can prove in court that the debt collector was in violation of the FDCPA are eligible to receive $1,000 for statutory damages. In addition, the court might award actual damages. This actual damages include physical and emotional damages and compensation for lost wages and wage garnishment. The debt collector might also have to cover a debtor’s attorney fees. The debt collection process can be a stressful one and actual trigger physical reactions. Actual damages include ailments like severe headaches, cardiovascular issues and rashes.

Read more about the steps you should take if you believe that a debt collection agency is making false statements: