Receiving a phone call from a debt collection agency can ramp up your blood pressure. Imagine what it feels like when you come home one night to find a message left on your landline answering machine from Account Services Collections, Inc. You are now not the only person who knows about your financial predicament. Fortunately, a landmark consumer protection law passed in 1977 indirectly addresses the leaving of voicemails by third party debt collectors. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) bill collectors are forbidden from engaging in dozens of previously legitimate debt collection practices. The FDCPA also grants consumers the right to file claims seeking monetary damages.
How the FDCPA Addresses Voicemails
The FDCPA requires a debt collection agency representative to identify himself or herself, as well as identify the debt collection agency he or she represents. Let’s assume Account Services Collections, Inc. followed the identification guidelines as presented by the FDCPA. The representative from the third party debt collector left a voice message that clearly identified the representative and the name of the bill collector. However, by leaving a voicemail, Account Services Collections, Inc. has left itself vulnerable to charges of informing another party about your outstanding credit card or personal loan account.
According to the FDCPA, debt collection agencies are prohibited from contacting third parties in regards to delinquent consumer debts. To invoke this provision of the FDCPA, you should consult with a licensed consumer protection lawyer who specializes in handling FDCPA cases.
Other Voicemail Violations of the FDCPA
Even if another person did not hear a voicemail left by Account Services Collections, Inc. there are numerous other ways for the bill collector to violate the federal consumer protection law. Debt collection agencies are allowed to call consumer only between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. If you saved the voice mails left by a third party debt collector and the calls have time stamps attached, you have physical evidence that Account Services Collections, Inc. has violated the FDCPA.
Another common illegal debt collection action involves using abusive language in an attempt to intimidate consumers into paying off debts. Once again, saving voicemails that contain abusive language is an important part of successfully litigating your FDCPA case.
Voicemails left at work is another illegal act under the FDCPA. You can stop workplace phone calls of any kind by invoking the “Right to know” clause of the consumer protection law. “Right to know” means your employer has informed Account Services Collections, Inc. that it has the right to know your employer does not permit debt collection phone calls at work. Your FDCPA attorney will have to subpoena records from your employer to prove the existence of the workplace phone calls.
Contact a FDCPA Lawyer
If a third party debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you should schedule a free initial consultation with a consumer protection attorney to determine the best course of legal action. Your lawyer might file a claim seeking statutory damages, which is a one-time award that cannot exceed $1,000. You also might be able to recover the cost of attorney fees and receive injunctive relief, which orders a bill collector to stop harassing you.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Account Services Collections, Inc. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.