You receive a letter in the mail from a debt collection agency. The letter demands payment for a long forgotten personal loan you took out years ago. Despite its relatively friendly tone, the letter concludes with a statement that makes you take a step back.
Unless you take care of the alleged debt, you can expect the third party debt collector to begin garnishing your wages. Before 1997, American consumers had to put up with overly aggressive debt collection practices.
As the ultimate consumer Bill of Rights, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for a bill collector like National Credit Adjusters to issue threats of any kind. This means the bill collector that threatened you with wage garnishment violated the FDCPA. The company also violated the FDCPA by making a false statement regarding your debt.
What Types of False Statement Can a Debt Collection Agency Make?
By claiming it has the legal right to garnish your wages to take care of an outstanding personal debt, the company making the claim violated the false statements provision written into the FDCPA. Any debt collection agency that wants to garnish a consumer’s wages must first seek a court order signed off by a qualified judge.
A third party debt collector cannot initiate a wage garnishment order on its own, nor can the company threaten to garnish your wages. Making such a threat is a false statement under the FDCPA. Claiming you owe money on a debt that you already paid off represents another type of false statement that is barred by the FDCPA.
A bill collector might claim you owe money on a debt that a bankruptcy court discharged. Debt collection agencies that try to collect what they call a valid debt for a debt that is no longer covered by the statute of limitations have violated the false statement provision of the FDCPA. Each state has established a time limit for companies to collect delinquent credit card and personal loan accounts.
Proving a False Statement Was Material
The intent of the United States Congress for writing the false statement provision into the FDCPA was to make bill collectors pay for acts of deception. Subsequent court rulings have changed the way the false statement provision of the FDCPA is interpreted.
Now, a consumer must demonstrate a false statement made by a debt collection agency was “material” to how the consumers made a personal finance decision. With the false statement to garnish your wages, the statement made by a third party debt collection might have adversely impacted your decision making ability.
For example, you might have changed the way you receive wages from direct deposit to getting a weekly printed paycheck.
Do You Qualify for Monetary Damages?
The emotional toll that the false statements a bill collector made to you can last for years. You might suffer sleep issues that negatively impact your mood. According to the FDCPA, you have the right to seek just compensation for the pain and suffering caused by emotional duress symptoms.
Although harder to prove than physical distress symptoms, you can win monetary damages for emotional duress issues by working with an FDCPA attorney.
Consult with an FDCPA Lawyer
Hiring a state licensed FDCPA attorney ensures you receive the legal representation you deserve for proving a company such as National Credit Adjusters made false statements. Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how the FDCPA can protect you against the false statements made by a debt collection agency.
*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 National Credit Adjusters, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.