Dealing with debt can be a stressful. It can cause all sorts of anxieties
that can take a serious toll on one’s family life, personal life
and even your mindset in the office. So if debt collection is so frustrating
already, why do some collectors feel the need to make it so much harder?
That’s one of the reasons why Congress passed
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
What Is The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA is an amendment to 1977’s
Consumer Credit Protection Act. It is designed to curb egregious debt
collection tactics, and it also to provide debtors a a proper channel
to file claims against violating
collection agencies. The FDCPA drafts out a "code of conduct" that all collection
agencies must abide by in order to proceed in the debt collection process.
This code of conduct specifies all the mandatory actions that must be
followed by collection agencies, and it also specifies collection actions
that are deemed abusive or deceptive. Some jurisdictions, such as California
and New York City, have their own local consumer laws that provide supplemental
protection beyond the federal laws.
FDCPA allows for a
statutory award of up to
$1000, and where applicable, to be compensated for actual damages such as embarrassment,
shock, mental anguish, and anxiety. To prove actual damages, the debtor
must show evidence, such as a note from their doctor. The statute also
has a “fee shifting” provision that allows an attorney representing
a consumer in an FDCPA claim to recover their fees from the Plaintiff.
Have I Been Abused By a Collection Agency?
Now that you know what the FDCPA is, you might be wondering “has
that pesky collection agency violated your rights?”. Some of the
actions that collection agents are prohibited from taking are:
Calling you before 8 am or after 9 pm
Threatening you with a legal action without actual intention or grounds to do so
Contacting you at work after you have told them not to
Asking for Interest on a debt where there was no contractual obligation
Continuing to call after you have requested a Letter of Verification
Mailing you demands for payment in envelopes not marked with the agency’s
logo or name
Informing a 3rd party of your debts causing your name to be tarnished.
Sending you documents simulating official court papers
Past FDCPA Violation Cases*
In 2011 the case of Zimmerman v.
Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC. Portfolio Recovery Associates sent Jason Zimmerman a demand for payment
letter with on their official letterhead along with a “pre-suit
package”. The judge in this case went on to declare that the average
person would take this to mean that they were being sued and as such was
a violation under the FDCPA. Furthermore the judge granted a class action
suit to 990 additional people who had received similar such letter .The
court granted a $350,000 class award entitling each member of the class
action lawsuit $500 as well as an addition $1000 to Zimmerman in statutory damages.
Recently, in the case of Madden v.
Midland Funding LLC, Ms. Madden was being charged interest rates at a rate higher than
the legal limit in the state of New York. The courts grated Madden her
request for a class Certification. Now being tried as a class action,
the Plaintiffs may potentially see themselves awarded similar damages
as Zimmerman in the above case if the Court finds Midland Funding was
violative of the law.
Has a debt collector contacted you by phone, letter, or email? Contact us for a
FREE EVALUATION by phone at 877-717-0098 to learn how our FDCPA lawyers may assist.
* The cases mentioned in this particular blog entry are sample cases that
are unrelated to our Law Firm and out attorneys, whom had no involvement
in these matters uness explicitly stated otherwise. We do not purport
to have any involvement, and the cases are mentioned only for general
informational purposes. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information
Each case is unique. Prior results do not guarantee future performance.
The information on this blog entry is not legal advice, and none of the
information posted is intended as an accusation by our office of any wrongdoing
by any entities. Contact an attorney for an evaluation of your particular
circumstances to help understand the options that may be available to you.