Dealing with a debt collection agency can trigger considerable stress and anxiety. The fear of having friends and family members find out about the financial predicament often leads to the making of bad decisions, as well as decisions based on incorrect information.
Many consumers are in the dark when it comes to knowing how to handle aggressive third party debt collectors. Shine the legal light on a bill collector by referring to a landmark federal consumer protection law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Passed into federal law by the United States Congress, the FDCPA acts as the consumer bill of rights by granting numerous protections against debt collection agency harassment.
Not only does the FDCPA prevent third party debt collectors from intimidating consumers, it also levies financial penalties for violating one of more provisions of the consumer protection law.
Alabama and FDCPA Laws
The intention of the United States Congress was to establish a consumer protection law that covers every possible debt bill collector action. However, several states passed their own FDCPA laws shortly after enactment of the federal FDCPA.
State FDCPA laws typically mimic the legal language written into the federal FDCPA. Nonetheless, many states have added provisions that strengthen the consumer protections written into the original FDCPA.
Alabama has followed the lead of the first few states that passed FDCPA laws by establishing a state FDCPA law falling under the code 40-12-80. Alabama’s state FDCPA law focuses on legal protections for consumers that endure debt collection agency abuse and harassment.
Consumer Protections under the FDCPA and State Collection Laws
Have you ever received a phone call from a third party debt collector after 9 pm or before 8 am? If you answered yes, then the FDCPA gives you the right to request the phone calls stop.
The FDCPA prohibits bill collector phone calls at home and on a personal cell phone between the hours of nine at night and eight in the morning.
A debt collection agency is also not allowed to make repeated phone calls to you, as well as call you at work after learning your employer forbids such phone calls. Under the FDCPA, you have the right to send a formal cease and desist notice to end all forms of communication with a bill collector.
Alabama FDCPA laws cover any individual or company that is defined as a debt collection agency by the federal FDCPA. This means a third party debt collector as defined under Alabama FDCPA laws must obtain a license to collect outstanding consumer debts.
One of the unique elements of Alabama FDCPA laws is the state does not mention that consumers have the right to seek a financial remedy for FDCPA violations. Instead, the state Attorney General Office is the entity that litigates violations of Alabama FDCPA laws.
Bill collectors have six years to file lawsuits against consumers to collect money owed on credit card and personal loan accounts, as well as money owed on breach of contracts.
Speak with an Alabama licensed consumer protection lawyer today to learn about how state and federal FDCPA laws protect you against the illegal practices implemented by debt collection agencies.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Alabama FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of an FDCPA attorney. You may be able to seek up to $1,000 in damages for each violation of the FDCPA. An attorney will be able to help navigate you through the entire process.