Can You Take Debt Collection Agencies to Court?
More than 150 million Americans are in some type of financial debt. This proves that debt isn’t necessarily an issue for the poor. Financial mismanagement, job loss, and other factors can lead to massive debt over time for anyone.
However, even if you owe you a creditor, you do have rights under the law dictating how debt collection agencies can interact with you. Nonetheless, what happens if your rights are violated by a debt collector?
Can you take legal action against a debt collector and what does the litigation process look like? Here is everything you need to know about taking a debt collector to court.
You Can Take Legal Action Against Debt Collection Agencies
In the United States, private citizens can file a lawsuit against anyone they choose, even the federal government. The same principle is true for debt collectors. If you feel that a debt collector is harassing or threatening you, a lawsuit can be filed in a court of law.
Of course, you’ll need to build a solid case that proves a debt collector is acting in an unscrupulous manner. It’s important to note here that you can only sue a third-party debt collector for harassment.
You cannot sue the original creditor if they reach out to you concerning an outstanding balance. If you owe someone a debt, they have a right to collect payment from you under any circumstances, unless it involved outright intimidation.
Usually, creditors don’t have the time to force debtors to make delinquent payments. Therefore, they hire third-party debt collectors to do the work for them.
Before you file a lawsuit against a third-party debt collector, you’ll need to first understand your rights.
It’s Necessary to Know Your Rights
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) restricts third-party debt collectors from using deceptive and abusive practices against consumers.
The FDCPA is an extensive piece of legislation that prohibits debt collectors from engaging in the following practices:
- Lying about the legal status of a person’s debt.
- Lying about their affiliation with a law enforcement agency, attorney, or government body in the United States.
- Threatening the debtor with actions they cannot legally take.
- Sending written documents that appear like official court or legal documents.
The FDCPA also restricts debt collectors from engaging in unfair practices that aren’t deceptive, such as:
- Attempting to deposit a post-dated check ahead of a payment schedule.
- Collecting payment amounts not specified in the consumer agreement, such as late fees and interest.
- Threatening to seize property they have no legal right to take.
- Using postcards to communicate with debtors.
As you can see, debt collectors have restrictions on how they can interact with debtors. Still, there are some more conditions in the FDCPA you should be aware of.
There are More Restrictions for Debt Collectors
The FDCPA is very strict on how debt collectors are able to communicate with debtors. Here is some legal red tape you should know about debt collector practices:
- The debt collector must send a written notice to the consumer within five days of initial contact.
- The first written notice must include the total amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and other information that informs the debtor how to resolve the issue.
- In the written notice, the debt collector must state that they will only contact the debtor about their debt and nothing else.
- The debt collector must stop all communications with the debtor if they request more information about their debt.
- The debt collector must stop all communications with the debtor if they state they won’t pay their debt, unless under specific circumstances.
Many people have experienced debt collectors harass them every day until they get what they want. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in such practices like:
- Calling debtors at unusual hours in the morning and night.
- Meeting directly with a debtor, unless in specific situations.
- Calling a person while they’re at work.
- Contacting a debtor that has made it clear they aren’t paying back their debt.
- Using violent threats and profane language.
- Calling the debtor repeatedly.
If any debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA, you can file a lawsuit and collect damages up to $1,000. This includes other damages that stem from the result of their actions.
If found guilty in court, the debt collector will be required by law to cover your attorneys’ fees and other legal costs.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney Will Help Stop the Harassment
Ultimately, some debt collectors can act as bullies. No matter how many times you tell them to leave you alone, they’ll continue to contact and intimidate you.
The only way to hold them accountable is by hiring an FDCPA litigation attorney. Hiring an attorney will even the playing field with debt collectors and force them to take you seriously.
If push comes to shove, you can file a lawsuit and collect damages from them in court. Before you get too optimistic, you’ll need to focus on hiring an exceptional attorney to represent you.
If you’re looking for a qualified FDCPA attorney, here are some tips to follow:
- Always check online reviews on Google and Yelp before making a hiring decision.
- If possible, tour the law firm’s office to see their tools and resources for yourself.
- Never turn down an initial consultation to see a lawyer’s strategy upfront.
- Always ask for business references, and make sure you verify them.
- Ask an attorney to reveal their case record.
When you follow these tips, you can hire the perfect FDCPA attorney to represent you and give you the best chance in court. You can also avoid wasting your time and money on the wrong lawyer.
Hire an FDCPA Attorney Today
The FDCPA stipulates that debt collectors are to avoid all unethical and deceptive collection practices. Otherwise, they can be held legally responsible. If a debt collector is harassing you and violating your rights, then we’ll love to speak with you.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at https://consumerprotection.net/new-york-city-fdcpa-litigation-lawyer/ to receive a free case evaluation.