If you have fallen behind on your bills, you understand how the stress triggered by the financial mess can spill over to taint your personal and professional relationships. Just when you thought the financial mess could not get messier, you receive a phone call at work from a debt collection agency.
The phone call is embarrassing enough, but embarrassment turns into acute fear when a representative from Municipal Services Bureau threatens to contact a family member regarding your debt.
All is not lost, as a landmark consumer protection law makes it illegal for Municipal Services Bureau to implement overly aggressive debt collection tactics.
About Municipal Services Bureau
Municipal Services Bureau operates as a debt collection agency out of Austin, Texas. The company does not specialize collecting debts in certain niches. What the company does appear to specialize in is the practice of harassing and intimidating consumers.
Over the past three years, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received 107 complaints from consumers about Municipal Services Bureau, with 32 of the complaints coming over the past 12 months.
What is Considered a Threat under the FDCPA?
There is no doubt the FDCPA clearly bans the long standing practice of bill collectors issuing threats to intimidate consumers into paying off credit card and personal loan balances. The question is what types of threats constitute FDCPA violations?
According to the FDCPA, Municipal Services Bureau is not allowed to threaten you with a wage garnishment order. The third party debt collector can garnish your wages by obtaining a court order, but the company can never issue a threat stating it will garnish your wages.
A bill collector is forbidden from threatening you with violence, including the threat of taking what the company feels it deserves by damaging your car or your home. One of the most common forms of threats is the threat to seize private property.
The goal of this type of threat is to convince a consumer that a debt collection agency will seize private property for the conversion of the property into cash. Moreover, the FDCPA makes it illegal for a bill collector to threaten you with arrest or by threating to contact the IRS regarding your debt.
Are You Entitled to Actual Damages?
The FDCPA gives consumers the power to file a lawsuit demanding the payment of statutory damages for every violation of the federal consumer protection law. Since statutory damages are capped as a one-time award of $1,000, most debt collection agencies do not feel threatened financially by the judicial financial award.
However, bill collectors are afraid of being hit with substantial monetary damages, including the just compensation handed down by a court to cover lost wages and medical expenses.
Overly aggressive debt collection tactics can trigger physical and/or emotional duress, which often leads to treatment programs to alleviate the symptoms. After a while, the cost for medical care becomes too much for many consumers, and the only legal recourse is to recover medical costs by filing an FDCPA claim in a civil court.
If you believe you deserve just compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the threats issued by Municipal Services Bureau, you should reach out to a licensed FDCPA attorney for immediate legal counsel.
*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 Municipal Services Bureau, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.