Before 1977, the debt collection industry was like the Wild West. Virtually anything was considered legal when it came to forcing consumers to take care of outstanding credit card and personal loan balances. A large number of third party debt collectors implemented overly aggressive debt collection tactics, as well as used deception to trick consumers. Years of political debate eventually led to the enactment of the most important federal consumer protection law.
Referred to by many legal scholars as the ultimate consumer Bill of Rights, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gave consumers a fighting chance when it came to contesting delinquent debts. The FDCPA prohibits bill collectors from issuing threats of any kind. A debt collection agency such as Donald R. Conrad, PLC cannot threaten to contact a third party regarding your debt. The company also cannot threaten to seize your property. In addition, the FDCPA forbids the long standing practice of using deception to trick consumers into take action they would not ordinarily have taken.
Types of False Statements a Debt Collection Agency Might Make
One of the most common false statements made by third party debt collectors involves misrepresenting how much money consumers owe on an outstanding credit card or personal loan account. For example, a bill collector might claim you owe $2,000 on a Visa account, but your records show you owe just $500. The key word is “records” because you should maintain meticulous records when it come every one of your credit accounts. Another way a debt collection agency makes a false claim is by pretending to be a law firm. Impersonating a law firm is done to intimidate consumers into taking action. However, you should remember that a few third party debt collectors are actual law firms, as is the case with Donald P. Conrad, PLC.
What Should You Do If a Debt Collection Agency Makes False Statements
If Donald R. Conrad, PLC makes false statements regarding your debt, you should get in touch with a licensed consumer protection lawyer who has successfully litigated FDCPA cases. You will need to present evidence that the debt collection agency violated the false statements provision of the landmark federal consumer protection law. Evidence can come in the form of telephone records and photocopied letters. You will also have to show the false statements were “material” in your case. A recent Eighth Circuit court ruling now requires consumers to demonstrate any false statement made by a third party debt collector adversely influenced the financial decision making process.
What Just Compensation Does the FDCPA Allow?
The “material” ruling by the Eighth Circuit court applies to the awarding of actual damages, which are handed out for the pain and suffering caused by physical and/or emotional distress symptoms. Your FDCPA attorney will have to show the actions taken by a bill collector triggered one or more symptoms that cost you money in medical bills and/or forced you to miss work for an extended time. Actual damages can also be awarded if you can show the false statements made by a debt collection agency led to you making improper personal financial decisions.
Schedule a free initial consultation with a highly rated FDCPA lawyer to see if Donald R. Conrad, PLC made false statements that were “material.”
*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 Donald R. Conrad, PLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.