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Fair Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA)


Debt Collection and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

After you have fallen behind on your bills, or in some cases based on a mistake or billing error, a debt collector will begin sending you collection letters and calling you. Debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to take action that they legally cannot take, making misleading or deceptive statements, and in certain instances from contacting your friends, family members, and employer.

If a debt collector violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you can sue the debt collector and if you win, the debt collector will be required to pay you up to $1,000.00 in damages, and pay your attorney’s fees and costs. Additionally, if the debt collector is placing illegal phone calls to your cell phone, they could be violating additional laws that provide for $500.00-$1,500.00 in damages per illegal phone call. 

A debt collector may have violated the FDCPA if they have done any of the following:

  • Threatened to attach your wages.

  • Threatened to sue you.

  • Lied to you.

  • Falsely threatened to report information to the IRS or falsely threatened other tax consequences.

  • Disclosed your personal or private information, even if this information is just visible on an envelope and not directly communicated to a third person.

  • Misrepresented the amount of the debt.

  • Misrepresented who owns the debt.

  • Left messages for you that a third party has overheard.

  • Communicated with a third party about a debt.

  • Failed to disclose that they are a debt collector.

  • Called you before 8:00am or after 9:00pm unless you have given them permission to do so.

  • Incorrectly or falsely reported a debt to a credit reporting agency.

  • Attempted to collect a debt that has been discharged in a bankruptcy.

  • Threaten to file a lawsuit or file a lawsuit against you for a time-barred debt (In Pennsylvania, a debt is time-barred if you have not made any payments on it in 4 years or more).

  • Continue to attempt to collect a debt after you have provided written instructions for them to stop.

  • Attempted to collect an amount that they are not legally allowed to collect, such as a collection fee that you did not agree to pay.

 

Additionally, many types of conduct can violate the FDCPA. It takes an experienced attorney to review collection letters, voicemails, or other collection conduct to find FDCPA violations. Lampman Law will always review your case, collection letters, or other collection conduct for free to determine if a debt collector violated the FDCPA.

 

Remedies Under the FDCPA

 

The FDCPA is a complex federal statute that regulates the activities of debt collectors. If you prevail in a lawsuit for a violation of the FDCPA, you are entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000.00 and the defendant would have to pay for any attorney’s fees and costs incurred prosecuting the case.

Congress specifically provided for the fee shifting provision (i.e. the defendant must pay your legal fees if you win) so that individuals that are struggling financially and may not be able to afford an attorney can still have their day in court. Additionally, the FDCPA provides normal Americans with the power to be private attorney generals and enforce the laws of the United States regarding collection activity.

Who is a Debt Collector

A debt collector is normally someone who purchases a debt in default from another creditor. For example, if you take out a Visa credit card and then fall behind on payments, Visa would not be a debt collector. But, if a different company purchased your debt to Visa from Visa while it was in default, that company would be a debt collector.

This is an overly simplified explanation of what a debt collector is and the law is often much more complicated. If any creditor is harassing you or treating you unfairly, call us today for a free consultation and we can advise you whether you have rights under the FDCPA or another consumer protection statute.

Free Consultation

Lampman Law offers free consultations to review collection activity against you. This includes reviewing your collection letters, voicemails, lawsuits, or any other type of collection activity against you to see if a law has been broken. The call is free and it could help you end annoying, harassing, unfair, or deceptive collection attempts made against you. Call us today at 570-371-3737 for a free consultation.

  

2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

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Lampman Law practices criminal defense and civil rights in the Counties of: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne, Wyoming. Lampman Law Office is located in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Do not rely on it for accuracy or direction. You should consult an attorney for advice concerning your individual situation because every case is different. Further, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not send confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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