Falling behind on your personal financial obligations can create an incredible amount of stress and anxiety. You have to deal with family members that wonder why you have become agitated.
Just when you thought it cannot get any worse, a debt collection agency like Vital Recovery Services contacts you about an outstanding credit card account. Not only does the company harass you, it also made false statements regarding your debt.
Federal Consumer Protection Law that Prohibits False Statements
In response to growing consumer discontent, the United States Congress wrote the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) into federal law. The primary objective of the FDCPA was to prevent third party debt collectors from harassing and intimidating consumers.
According to the FDCPA, bill collectors are not permitted to issue threats of any kind. A debt collection cannot threaten to seize your property to liquidate it into cash, nor can the company threaten to contact a third party regarding your debt. One provision of the FDCPA that does not receive as much attention as the other provisions involves implementing deceptive debt collection tactics.
The FDCPA clearly makes it illegal for a company to make false statements regarding an outstanding credit card or personal loan account. A company such as Vital Recovery Services is prohibited from demanding you take care of a debt you have already paid off.
The debt collection agency is also forbidden from trying to get more money out of you that is actually owed on a consumer debt. Some third party debt collectors bank on consumers not maintaining accurate records of their financial transactions.
How to Handle the False Statements Made by a Bill Collector
Although most FDCPA provisions have remained unchanged since the enactment of the federal consumer protection law, the provision concerning false statements underwent a major change in 2018 when the Eight Circuit court added another condition for proving false statements were made by a third party debt collector. Now, consumers have to show the false statements issued by a bill collector were “material” to how consumers made personal finance decisions. You must demonstrate the false statements made by a debt collection agency adversely influenced how you decided to handle a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance.
Seeking Monetary Damages
Consumers that prove one or more violations of the FDCPA made by the same company might qualify to receive statutory damages. Capped at $1,000, statutory damages represent the financial reward for a company breaking the federal consumer law by making false statements.
The litmus test for proving a debt collection agency made false statements is less than the legal litmus test required for demonstrating the false statements were “material” in how you made financial decisions.
Work with a Licensed FDCPA Lawyer
Because of the two-phase approach to handling the false statements made by a bill collector, it is important for you to speak with an experienced federal consumer protection attorney who has successfully litigated FDCPA cases. Your FDCPA lawyer will conduct an exhaustive review of your case to determine if there is enough evidence to file a claim seeking statutory or actual damages. To get in touch with a consumer rights lawyer, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page.
*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 Vital Recovery Services, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.