The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, or the “FDCPA,” states that a debt collector cannot engage in or even threaten to take any illegal actions when attempting to collect a debt. Examples of illegal actions can include harassment, calling a neighbor or relative and discussing the debt with them, contacting your employer, threatening jail time and threatening wage garnishment, among other things.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can turn the tables and file a lawsuit against them and collect $1,000 per FDCPA violation! To make it even better, the FDCPA allows for recovery of your reasonable attorney fees. It’s one of the few laws in existence that have such a provision. Think about that, you end up with a free attorney if you have an FDCPA claim. The debt collector pays this office’s fee or we simply do not get paid.
If you are wondering if you have a claim, although not exhaustive of all potential FDCPA claims, please consider the questions outlined in this paragraph to get started. Has any of the following happened to you? Have you had a debt collector call you repeatedly more than 10 times a day or called you at odd hours in the morning of evening? Have you been threatened with a lawsuit or wage garnishment from a debt collector? Has a debt collector called you even though you demanded that they stop contacting you? Has a debt collector attempted to collect a debt you though was previously settled/paid or discharged in a bankruptcy? Has a debt collector been contacting third parties about a debt you owe, like relatives, neighbors, or work colleagues? Has a debt collect made any false statements or misrepresentations? Has a debt collector not sent you a written notice summarizing your rights under the FDCPA within 5 days of initially communicating with you? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may have a claim
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a debt collector, please take note of the utmost importance of creditor harassment documentation. It can become very difficult to successfully pursue a claim against a creditor without proper documentation evidencing creditor violations. It is one thing to allege that a creditor is harassing you with hundreds of phone calls a week. It is quite another to document each of these phone calls by recording the date, time and person calling.
Documentation goes beyond phone calls however. Be certain not to throw away collection letters so they may be used against the creditor if you choose to pursue a claim. Although it can be annoying and stressful when a creditor contacts you by phone or by written correspondence, properly documenting a creditor’s behavior can help build a strong case.
If you are considering bankruptcy or are being routinely harassed by creditors, please contact Tomei Law, P.C. either on-line, or by telephone at (847) 596-7494 in order to schedule a free initial consultation.