Many people often have questions about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the federal law that governs most debt collection practices and prohibits debt collection companies from using any abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect debts. The FDCPA covers the collection of medical debts, mortgages, credit cards, and many other debts generally applying to personal, family, or household purposes, and you will want to have an FDCPA attorney when you think that you might have FDCPA violation claims.
This page will address some of the most commonly asked questions about the FDCPA. If you have additional questions, we again recommend contacting our lawyer.
How Do I Know if a Debt Collector Has Violated The FDCPA?
If a debt collector has done something unfair, untrue, engaged in harassment, or acted abusively, there may be a good chance that the debt collector violated the FDCPA and owes you compensation. The FDCPA makes it illegal for a creditor to harass you by threatening or intimidating you or engaging in other abusive practices, repeatedly annoying or harassing you through repeated phone calls, texts or letters, making false or misleading claims about what you owe or the consequences of nonpayment, calling you in the early morning (before 8 a.m.) or late at night (after 9 p.m.), calling you at work if you have said you are not able to take calls at work, sending you spam texts from debt collection agencies that you didn’t opt into, or contacting you directly when you have an attorney.
Is There a Time Limit For Bringing an FDCPA Case?
Most civil actions are bound by statutes of limitations, and the FDCPA establishes a time limit of one year from the date of a violation. There is often some issue or question about when a violation occurred, so you need to seek legal representation to ensure your claim is filed in time.
What Damages Am I Entitled to Under the FDCPA?
Under the FDCPA, you could receive a maximum of $1,000 per violation. There may also be actual damages and a debt collector will have to pay attorney fees and costs in successful claims. You may also be eligible for emotional distress compensation.
Do Phone Calls to my Friends and Family Constitute FDCPA Violations?
Debt collectors can contact friends and family members only when they do not have your direct contact information, but they are not allowed to disclose your debt to them or that you owe a debt. When a debt collector reveals details of your debt to a third party, it will be an FDCPA violation and you could be entitled to compensation.
Can a Debt Collection Letter Violate the FDCPA?
Entirely possible when a debt collector uses false or misleading representations, fails to disclose its identity, fails to advise you of certain rights you have within five days of the initial communication, fails to identify themselves as a debt collector, discloses personal information to third parties, or falsely represents the amount, character, or legal status of the debt. These are only a handful of ways that a debt collection letter could violate the FDCPA but there are many other instances.
Can a Voice Recording Violate the FDCPA?
It sure can. Debt collectors may fail to identify themselves as debt collectors, and many debt collectors may leave either far too much information or not enough information on a recording, which could cause a number of issues with the FDCPA. Any misleading information can also be a problem for a debt collector.
Can I Record a Phone Conversation With a Debt Collector?
Depending on your state, you might be but there will almost certainly be rules that you will have to follow. Many state laws dictate that you cannot record a person without informing them that they are being recorded, so once a debt collector knows you are recording a call, they will usually hang up, tell you that they do not agree to being recorded, or continue to talk and indicate implied consent that they agree to be recorded. The bottom line will be that you will need to record you notifying the debt collector that you recording the call, because it will be incredibly damaging if you secure permission without recording it as the debt collector could later deny permission was ever granted. When a debt collector leaves any message on your voicemail, that is always fair game to save.
What is a limited-content message?
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Debt Collection Rule, a limited-content message is a message that is a voicemail for a consumer and includes all of the required content. The required content will include the name or names of one or more people whom the consumer may contact to reply to the debt collector, a business name for the debt collector that will not indicate that the caller is in the business of collecting debts, a request that a consumer reply to the message, and a telephone number or numbers for the consumer to use to reply to a debt collector. In addition to all of the required content, a limited-content message may also include suggested dates and times for a consumer to reply to a message, a salutation, the date and time of the message, and a statement that, if the consumer replies, the consumer may speak to any of the company’s representatives or associates. Under the rule, debt collectors cannot communicate in connection with the collection of a debt with a third party. Because a limited-content message is an attempt to communicate and not a communication under the Debt Collection Rule, a debt collector who leaves only a limited-content message does not violate the prohibition against third-party communications. Leaving a limited-content message also does not violate the Debt Collection Rule’s requirement to meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity with respect to that voicemail message.
What Am I Entitled To Under The FDCPA?
If your rights have been violated by a creditor, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This includes statutory damages of $1,000. You may also recover additional compensation if you have suffered emotional stress or invasion of privacy or your rights under other laws have been violated.
What Are Creditors Not Allowed To Do?
For the most part, anything that seems shady or just wrong is likely to be barred by the FDCPA. This includes making threats of violence or lawsuits, accusing debtors of crimes, using foul language, threatening to garnish wages, and late-night/early morning phone calls. An experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman can help you determine whether you have a viable case.
When Can I Make My Claim?
You can file a claim anytime, but it is in your best interest to contact our nationwide law firm as soon as possible. The sooner you have a lawyer working for your interests, the sooner we can put a stop to the creditor harassment you have been subjected to.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an FDCPA Attorney
Do you think that a debt collector may have violated the FDCPA when contacting you? Get in touch with The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. as soon as possible.
Our firm will diligently pursue full legal recourse for any FDCPA violations and make sure you are able to receive some measure of justice. You can call (818) 646-5690 or contact us online to receive a free consultation so we can discuss your case further and also inform you about what steps we can take to make things right.What Is The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The FDCPA protects consumers against harassment, abuse and other shady creditor practices. It applies to bill collectors, collection agencies and creditors. You have rights as a consumer under this act, and an attorney experienced with the act can help you hold creditors accountable for their actions.
Speak directly to your attorney. We will analyze your case and give you timely feedback.