Falling behind on bills can create incredible stress that spills over into your personal and professional lives. To make matters worse, an original creditor has turned over an outstanding credit card or a personal loan balance to a debt collection agency. The company responsible for collecting your delinquent debt calls you throughout the day, with some of the calls going to voicemail.
This begs the question: When can Hillcrest, Davidson & Associates, LLC leave a voicemail? Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the answer to the question is most likely never.
FDCPA Protections Include Voicemails
The primary intent of the United States Congress in writing the FDCPA into law was to balance the legal scales between consumers and third party debt collectors. Prior to 1977, most debt collection agencies were able to bully consumers into taking care of personal debts. Dozens of previously legal debt collection tactics are now considered unlawful. The FDCPA also offers consumers several remedies to end the harassment committed by overly aggressive bill collectors. Legal remedies include filing a claim, sending a cease and desist letter, or negotiating a debt settlement agreement.
With dozens of provisions outlawing certain debt collection practices, you would think one provision addresses the tactic of leaving voicemails. However, there is not a provision within the FDCPA that directly deals with the voicemails left by debt collection agencies. Instead, an accomplished consumer protection lawyer who specializes in FDCPA cases can invoke the FDCPA provision that prohibits debt collection agencies from contacting third parties.
The reason for the invoking of the third party provision is a bill collector cannot reasonably expect a voicemail to remain private with the consumer in question. Anyone within earshot of the message will hear the voicemail, as well as anyone that plays back a voice message left by a bill collector. Numerous cases have sided with consumers that were left voicemails by a debt collection agency.
More than One Voicemail Violation Possible
It is not just the leaving of a voicemail that can violate the FDCPA. A debt collection agency such As Hillcrest, Davidson & Associates might leave a message threatening to take your property or threaten to take legal action. Both threats are considered violations of the FDCPA. A third party debt collector cannot threaten to contact your family by leaving a voicemail, which can be a double violation of the landmark consumer protection law. Another way a bill collector can violate the FDCPA via voicemails is by demanding more money that is actually owed on a credit card or a personal loan account.
A FDCPA Lawyer Provides Expert Legal Guidance
Since leaving a voicemail can create an unclear legal situation, it is wise for anyone contacted by a bill collector through voicemail to speak with a licensed FDCPA attorney. Your lawyer might decide there is enough evidence to file a claim against Hillcrest, Davidson & Associates, LLC Evidence comes in the form of the audio recordings of the voicemails. You can also refer witnesses to your FDCPA lawyer for bolstering your case. Most consumer protection attorneys offer a free initial consultation to determine the best course of legal action.
*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 Hillcrest, Davidson & Associates, LLC or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.