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What Is The FDPCA And How Does It Protect From Abusive Debt Collectors?

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.

The 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:

  1. Calling you before 8 am or after 9 pm

  2. Threatening you with a legal action without actual intention or grounds to do so

  3. Contacting you at work after you have told them not to

  4. Asking for Interest on a debt where there was no contractual obligation for interest

  5. Continuing to call after you have requested a Letter of Verification

  6. Mailing you demands for payment in envelopes not marked with the agency’s logo or name

  7. Informing a 3rd party of your debts causing your name to be tarnished.

  8. 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 contained herein,

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.