Have you endured the threats made by a debt collection agency? Has a third party debt collector used profanity in an attempt to intimidate you? Does a bill collector call you in the middle of the night?
If any of these debt collection practices has happened to you, a powerful consumer protection law gives you the right to file a lawsuit in a civil court.
In response to growing consumer anger, the United States Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Considered by many legal scholars to be the American consumer bill of rights, the FDCPA bans dozens of previously acceptable debt collection tactics.
The FDCPA also contains a provision that punishes unethical debt collection agencies. If you have suffered physical and/or emotional trauma brought on by aggressive third party debt collector tactics, a licensed FDCPA lawyer can help you stop the harassment.
FDCPA Laws in North Carolina
Although the federal FDCPA covers every consumer nationwide, third party debt collectors must also follows FDCPA laws written by state legislatures. As one of the common provisions written into state FDCPA laws, the statute of limitations for debt collection cases starts on the last day of activity on a consumer credit card or personal loan account.
Residents of North Carolina enjoy one of the shortest statute of limitations for debt collection efforts in the country. In North Carolina, bill collectors have three years to pursue outstanding consumer debts that include credit cards, auto loans, and personal installment loans.
One of the most effective ways to stop bill collectors in their tracks is to invoke the statute of limitations for debt collections in North Carolina.
Consumer Protections Granted by the FDCPA and North Carolina Collection Laws
The FDCPA goes well beyond the common debt collection agency practices of issuing threats and using deception to trick consumers. Under the FDCPA, a third party debt collector must comply with a request to stop all forms of communication with a consumer.
You do not have to take phone calls from a bill collector after 9 pm and before 8 am. It is illegal under the FDCPA for a debt collection agency to take money out of your bank account.
The third party debt collector must request and receive approval for a wage garnishment order to take money out of your paycheck. According to the FDCPA, bill collectors are not allowed to contact third parties in regards to a delinquent debt.
North Carolina’s FDCPA laws differ from the federal FDCPA in two important ways. First, North Carolina’s FDCPA laws apply to both original creditors and debt collection agencies. The FDCPA applies only to debt collection agencies.
Second, the Tar Heel State allows consumers to seek statutory damages up to $4,000, while the federal FDCPA caps statutory damages at $1,000. Statutory damages represent the financial award given to consumers that can prove one or more violations of the FDCPA.
Punitive damages are the financial award given to consumers that can prove FDCPA violations caused physical and/or emotional distress.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating North Carolina’s 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.