On September 20, 1977, the United States Congress enacted the most important consumer protection law in American history. Called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal consumer protection law specifies numerous rights granted to consumers that protect them against the underhanded practices used by debt collection agencies.
After decades of hearing growing consumer anger, the United States Congress adopted what many legal experts refer to as the consumer bill of rights.
The FDCPA not only details illegal debt collection practices, it also permits consumers to seek monetary damages for one or more violations of the groundbreaking federal consumer protection law.
Statutory damages are capped at $1,000 for each claim filed by a consumer against a third party debt collector. However, there is not a financial cap placed on monetary damages awarded for physical and emotional distress.
You can also recover lost wages and any wages lost because of the actions taken by a bill collector.
FDCPA Laws in the Cornhusker State
Although the federal FDCPA represents a sweeping set of provisions outlawing specific bill collector tactics, each of the 50 states have followed the federal lead by passing one or more FDCPA laws.
Nebraska FDCPA law covers debt collection agencies, but it does not cover the actions of lawyers that handle their own debt collection claims. In other words, if an attorney works within the legal system to collect consumer debts, he or she is not covered under Nebraska FDCPA laws.
Nebraska FDCPA laws require third party debt collectors to acquire a license and pay a fee to become eligible to collect delinquent credit card and personal loan accounts.
Consumer Protections under State and Federal FDCPA Laws
Federal FDCPA statutes mandate bill collectors must stop contacting consumers whenever they receive a formal notice to cease and desist from calling and/or writing consumers.
If your employer forbids workplace phone calls made by a debt collection agency, you have the right under the federal FDCPA to tell the third party debt collector that it has “reason to know” the phone calls must stop. Deceptive practices are also prohibited, such as impersonating the IRS or a law enforcement agency.
Nebraska Statutes 45-1043 through 45-1058 includes limitations on how debt collection agencies communicate with consumers. Under Nebraska FDCPA statutes, third party debt collectors not only are prohibited from harassing consumers, they are also prohibited from engaging in specific debt collection practices.
Although the specified tactics closely mirror what the federal FDCPA makes illegal, the state legislature in recent years has considered legislation that goes well beyond the legal scope of the federal FDCPA.
The Cornhusker State has established a statute of limitations for collecting consumer debts derived from both oral and written contracts. For written contracts, bill collectors have five years to pursue the collection of outstanding consumer debts. Oral contracts reduce the statute of limitations to four years.
Never allow a third party debt collector to get the upper legal hand. Speak with a Nebraska licensed lawyer to learn more about how state FDCPA laws work in concert with the federal FDCPA to protect you against aggressive debt collection practices.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Nebraska 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.