Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, commonly known as the FDCPA, is a federal law designed to protect consumers from the aggressive tactics used by debt collectors. The law was passed by congress in 1978 due to "abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices."
Who Does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act apply to?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects people with "consumer debt." Consumer debt is any debt for personal, family, or household purposed, for example credit card debts, auto debts, medical care, mortgages, or retail financing. Business debts are not covered by the FDCPA.
The law restricts the actions of third party debt collectors, meaning anyone who collects debts on behalf of the companies who provided the debt in the first place.
State Fair Debt Collection Laws
Some states, including California and Florida, extend the types of protections in the FDCPA to the original creditor as well. This means that when the company that issued the debt attempts to collect on it, they are held up to restrictions just like third party debt collectors are under the FDCPA. In addition, these state laws allow for a consumer to recover more money in an FDCPA lawsuit. To find out more about state debt collection laws, click here.
What Kind of Collection Activities does the FDCPA Restrict?
The FDCPA and the related state laws have numerous restrictions on debt collection. Most of the restrictions are meant to keep debt collectors from deceiving and harassing consumers. They also give the consumer control over whether or not the debt collector can continue to contact them. The FDCPA also gives some protection of the consumer credit report. For a full list of common Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations, click here.
What Should you Do if a Debt Collector Contacts You?
This depends on your situation. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation if you need advice. Typically, consumers want debt collectors to leave them alone. If that is what you want it is best to send the debt collector a written cease and desist letter via certified mail, return receipt requested. The FDCPA requires that you tell a debt collector in writing to stop contacting you. The reason you should send it certified mail is so you have proof that you sent it. That way, if the debt collector contacts you again, you will have a very good FDCPA lawsuit.
Keep in mind that telling a debt collector to stop contacting you does not mean they can't sue you on the debt. It just means they can't keep calling or writing to you. Some debt collectors sue on the debt and others do not. So it is up to you as to whether you want to let debt collectors keep contacting you. Either way, if a debt collector does sue you on a debt, you should always respond to the lawsuit and seek an attorney to help you.
What is an FDCPA Lawsuit?
When a debt collector violates one of the many parts of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can sue them for damages. The FDCPA provides for $1,000 in statutory damages and possibly much more than that for actual damages like emotional distress or damage to your credit. The law also requires the debt collector to pay your attorney their fees. We bring these FDCPA lawsuits for consumers on a contingency basis. This means that you don't pay us anything out of pocket. We only get paid if we win or settle the case and the debt collector pays you!
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) connection to FDCPA
Many of our clients get even more money from the debt collectors because the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) can also be combined with an FDCPA lawsuit. Debt collectors typically use robodialing methods when calling consumers. If the calls you get from a debt collector are to your cell phone and you hear a pause or click when you first pick up the phone, or if you hear a pre-recorded message or artificial voice, then you can also win money under the TCPA. The TCPA award will be as much as $1,500 per call! To find out more about the TCPA, click here.
Wrong Number Debt Collection Calls
Some of our best cases have been against debt collectors who called our clients by mistake. If you get a call from a debt collector asking for someone else, then they are usually violating the FDCPA and TCPA. There is no prior express consent for them to call you, so you don't have to send them any written cease and desist. Just call us and see how we can get you a large cash award for the calls.
Statute of Limitations
It's important to act fast when a debt collector is contacting you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has a one year statute of limitation, meaning you have to file your lawsuit within one year from the date of the violation of the law. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act has a four year statute of limitations, so you have four years to file a case. But don't delay. If you wait too long the law might change or the company might go out of business.
What Can We Do For You?
Contact us for a free consultation. We will ask you about what the debt collector has done to you. If we see a good FDCPA case in their actions, we can discuss representing you in a lawsuit. If the debt collector hasn't violated the laws yet, we can advise you on how to deal with them anyways. We have the experience and results to prove that we're a great choice for Your FDCPA Attorney!
If you think you may be the victim of illegal debt collection practices, then contact your Florida FDCPA Attorney for a free consultation. Protect your rights and receive just compensation! Call or email us today for a free evaluation of your case. We take FDCPA cases on contingency: No Fees Unless You Win Money!
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