After a long day of work, you return to your office to give the voicemail system one last go around. Unfortunately, there are a couple of co-workers in your office and both of them hear a strident message left by a debt collection agency. You probably know third party debt collectors are barred from using abusive language when in conversations with consumers. How does federal consumer protection law address the leaving of voicemails, especially voicemails that do not use overly aggressive debt collection practices?
Voicemails and the FDCPA
Money is the sole motivator for bill collectors to harass and intimidate consumers into taking care of outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts. Whether a company accepts a healthy commission or purchases a consumer debt for a fraction of the original amount owed, it does not take much for the debt collection agency to attack a consumer. Until 1977, that was an accepted business model for third party debt collectors.
However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) leveled the legal playing field between consumers and third party debt collectors. The FDCPA outlaws dozens of debt collection practices, as well as gives consumers the right to win financial awards for suffering from FDCPA violations.
The FDCPA does not directly address the issue of voicemails left by bill collectors. It does address the issue indirectly, if you work with a licensed FDCPA lawyer who knows how to make a certain provision work for you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collection agency is not permitted to contact a third party in regards to your delinquent consumer debt. By leaving a voicemail, a third party debt collector makes it almost impossible for a third party not to hear the voicemail message. Think about our example of the two co-workers hearing a voicemail message left by Prince Parker & Associates.
When Voicemails Get Ugly
Invoking the third party provision of the FDCPA can help stop the intimidating tactics used by a bill collector. It gets much easier to prove FDCPA violations via voicemails when one or more of the voicemails contain strong, threatening language. Under the FDCPA, a debt collection agency such as Prince Parker & Associates is prohibited from threatening to seize your property for liquidating the property into cash. You do not have to tolerate threats to contact your relatives, as well as threats of bodily harm. A voicemail system can provide your FDCPA with plenty of hard evidence to use during the next step of the legal process.
Working with a FDCPA Attorney
If you can provide evidence that a debt collection agency violated one or more provisions of the FDCPA by leaving voicemails, your consumer protection lawyer might consider filing a lawsuit in civil court. You can seek statutory damages, which is a one-time financial award of $1,000 that covers every FDCPA violation. As another form of just compensation, monetary damages covering the cost physical and emotional duress do not have any financial limits placed on the awards. Your FDCPA attorney will have to connect the dots between one or more FDCPA violations and the medical symptoms triggered because of physical and/or emotional distress.
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*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 Prince Parker & Associates or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.