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How Do I Get Compensated Under FDCPA?

If debt collectors are hounding you for an unpaid bill, then you have rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you against abusive or harassing debt collectors. The FDCPA can provide you with compensation if it can be shown that a debt collector violated the law. Still, you may not be aware of how you should go about receiving the compensation to which you are entitled. The process of determining whether your rights have been violated, and holding a debt collector accountable, involves a number of key steps. Here’s more on the FDCPA and what you can do to make sure that you are compensated for the illegal conduct of a debt collector.

What Is The FDCPA?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that limits the ways in which a debt collector can attempt to get a debt paid. This law is violated when debt collectors use tactics that are deemed to be abusive or harassing. If a debt collector violates this law, then you may be able to sue them for damages. A few examples of conduct by a debt collector that would violate the law are:

  • Making repeated phone calls
  • Using abusive or profane language
  • Calling during prohibited times
  • Threatening or using violence
  • Contacting a third party about your debt
  • Contacting you at work
  • Lying or misleading you about your debt
  • Failing to provide verification of your debt
  • Failing to identify themselves as a debt collector

Any of the above examples may constitute a violation of the FDCPA and may entitle you to damages. Additionally, you may also be able to pursue further damages if it can be shown that the violation caused you direct harm.

It is important that you understand that not everyone who attempts to collect on a debt will be considered a debt collector under the FDCPA. A friend or family member attempting to collect the money that they loaned you will not be considered a debt collector according to the FDCPA. Only those that are collecting a debt for another person or company will be considered debt collectors under the law. Collection agencies and companies that purchase debt from others are the most common examples of what the law considers a debt collector.

Obtaining Compensation

The process of proving a violation of the FDCPA and obtaining compensation typically involves suing the debt collector in court. If you are able to prove that a violation occurred, then you may be entitled to what are known as statutory damages. What this means is that a provision in the FDCPA statute will determine the amount of money that you can recover for a violation. The FDCPA limits the amount of money that you can receive for a violation to $1,000 per lawsuit. Even if the debt collector violated multiple provisions of the law, the most you will be able to collect is $1,000. It is important to note that, for statutory damages, you do not have to prove that the violation harmed you; you only need to prove that a violation occurred.

You may be entitled to additional damages if you can show that the violation caused you actual harm. Both physical and emotional harm may entitle you to compensation under the FDCPA. An example of physical harm would be the physical manifestation of stress caused by abuse or harassment from a debt collector. This could include hives, weight loss, migraines, or loss of hair. A court may also order a debt collector to compensate you for emotional harm, also known as emotional distress, caused by the illegal actions of a debt collector. Critically, a debt collector that contacts your friends or family could cause you significant emotional distress. Examples of emotional harm caused by a debt collector would be depression, anxiety, or fear of embarrassment.

Coverage For Lawyers’ Fees

While it is possible to successfully sue a debt collector under the FDCPA without a lawyer, it may be difficult. Handling this matter without a lawyer may also require you to come out of pocket to pay your filing fee and other costs associated with the lawsuit. The FDCPA recognizes the burden this may create and, as a result, you may have the cost of filing the lawsuit and your lawyer’s fee paid by the debt collector. In many areas of the law, a lawyer will require a retainer to get started on your case. What this means is that you must pay them upfront in order for them to begin working on your case. However, since the FDCPA allows for your legal fees to be paid by the debt collector, consumer protection lawyers may agree to represent you without a retainer. Once your lawyer has successfully proven your case, they will make a request to the court to have their legal fees and costs paid by the debt collector.

Consumer Rights Attorneys To The Rescue

If you have been abused by a debt collector, then you might have the opportunity to bring a lawsuit against them to recover damages. The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg are skilled consumer rights lawyers. We have your back. We will thoroughly review your situation and fight on your behalf to get justice against those unscrupulous debt collectors who have harmed you. Reach out to The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg by calling (888) 301-0584 or by contacting us online.