Before September 20, 1977, the debt collection industry was chalk full of companies that harassed and intimidated consumers into taking care of credit card and personal loan accounts. In response to growing consumer anger, the United States Congress enacted the sweeping Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The federal consumer protection law prohibits debt collection agencies from calling consumers repeatedly throughout the day, as well as threatening to take consumers to court. What many consumers do not know about the FDCPA is the federal consumer protection law also bans the once legal practice of making false statements regarding consumer debts.
Examples of False Statements Prohibited by the FDCPA
Under the FDCPA, a third party debt collector like Universal Fidelity LP is not allowed to issue both direct and indirect false statements. An example of a direct false statement is when a bill collector impersonates another organization. A company might claim to be the IRS or a law enforcement agency. You should know the IRS does not care about consumer debts and the American legal system does not punish consumers for failing to take care of their personal financial obligations.
Indirect false statements are made to other people, typically people that are close to you. A debt collection agency might contact your spouse and claim your spouse is responsible for taking care of a debt that you are obligated to pay off. Unless your spouse co-signed a credit card or a personal loan application, he or she is under no legal obligation to get you off the financial hook.
Dealing with the False Statements Made by a Third Party Debt Collector
Dealing with the false statements issued by a bill collector requires a sense of urgency. The longer you ignore the illegal actions taken by a debt collection agency, the more likely the company will doble down and come after you much harder. In addition to responding immediately to the false statements made by a third party debt collector such as Universal Fidelity LP, you also have to take into account several recent court rulings that involve the FDCPA. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in 2018 that consumers must demonstrate a “material” connection between the false statements made by a bill collector and the ability to evaluate personal financial options.
Do You Qualify for Monetary Damages?
The FDCPA not only bans a long list of previously acceptable debt collection tactics, it also gives consumers the right to seek monetary damages. Actual damages, which are not capped by the FDCPA, cover the costs associated with physical and/or emotional distress symptoms. Having to deal with a deceptive third party debt collector can lead to many sleepless nights, which in turn can trigger a deterioration of your physical and/or emotional health.
Collaborate with a Licensed FDCPA Lawyer
Seeking any type of just compensation for the pain and suffering caused by a debt collection agency requires the legal support of a highly rated FDCPA attorney. Your FDCPA lawyer will gather the evidence required to move your claim forward in a civil court. Most attorneys that specialize in FDCPA cases offer a free initial consultation to discuss every legal option.
*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 Universal Fidelity LP, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.