With the powerful motivator of money, far too many debt collection agencies continue to violate the most influential consumer protection law ever passed by the United States Congress. A third party debt collector like Shaffer & Associates can earn a substantial commission from an original creditor.
A more profitable way to chase down outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts is for a bill collector to purchase a consumer debt from an original creditor for a fraction of what was owed on the debt.
On September 20, 1977, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to deter bill collectors from implementing overly aggressive debt collection tactics. The FDCPA prohibits companies from threatening consumers in any way, as well as harassing consumers by making repeated phone calls.
In addition to banning harassing and intimidating debt collection practices, the FDCPA forbids debt collection agencies from making false statements regarding consumer debts.
What Type of False Statements are Outlawed by the FDCPA?
In many cases, consumers forget about being on the financial hook for a debt. Considerable time elapses between the last form of communication from an original creditor and the first contact made by a third party debt collector such as Shaffer & Associates.
The considerable lapse in time can mean you tossed out the financial records concerning a delinquent credit card or personal loan account. Unethical bill collectors bank on this type of financial oversight by trying to collect more than what is owed on a consumer debt.
Another underhanded practice that involves making a false statement is for a bill collector to inaccurately claim you are on the hook for another person’s outstanding credit card or personal loan balance.
How Should You Proceed?
If a debt collection agency made one or more false statements, you might have a strong enough case to file a claim seeking monetary damages. However, a recent decision rendered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit added a second criterion for proving a third party debt collector issued one or more false statements.
You not only have to submit evidence of the false statements; you also have to show the false statements were “material” to how you reached personal financial decisions. For example, if Shaffer & Associates falsely claimed you owed money on a family member’s debt and you sent the company money to pay off the debt, then the false statement had an adverse impact on how you evaluated your financial options.
Do You Qualify for Monetary Damages?
Not every FDCPA case is worthy of seeing its day inside of a civil courtroom. If you have a strong enough FDCPA case, a licensed attorney who handles FDCPA cases might file a claim seeking monetary damages. There are two types of monetary damages for FDCPA cases: statutory and actual.
As the most frequently requested type of monetary damage, statutory damages represent a one-time award up to $1,000 for all FDCPA violations committed by the same company.
Schedule a free initial consultation today with a consumer protection lawyer to determine the best course of legal action.
*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 Shaffer & Associates, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.