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Congress recently passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, otherwise more commonly known as FDCPA. This law has been put in place to protect debtors from being continually harassed by debt collectors.

Through this law, a consumer can sue a collector in court or join a class action lawsuit if they have violated the FDCPA. In this post we are going to explore the different types of abuse which debt collectors may subject consumers to as well as what remedies and compensation are available to you.

10 Most Common Abusive Behaviors Performed by Debt Collectors

There are a number of different practices debt collectors may employ to harass or even threaten a consumer:

  1. Harassment: Debt collectors are prohibited from attempting to contact a consumer who has notified them in writing to stop all communications with them. These collectors are also generally not allowed to use abusive/profane language and they cannot make threats such as arrest or legal action that is not actually contemplated or permitted
  2. Failure to Cease Communication upon Request: If a debt collector continues to communicate with a consumer in any way (other than litigation) after they have received written notice that the consumer no longer wants to communicate with them or refuses to pay the alleged debt, they may be breaking the law
  3. Trying to Communicate with Consumers at Their Job: Debt collectors are prohibited from trying to communicate with an employee while they are at their place of employment after they have been advised that this is prohibited or unacceptable by the employer
  4. Contacting You Outside of Acceptable Hours: Debt collectors may only contact consumers between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm local time
  5. Causing the Phone to Ring Repeatedly or Continuously: You may also find that debt collectors will constantly call you simply with the intent to annoy, harass or abuse you
  6. Using Misrepresentation or Deceit to Collect Debt: Misrepresenting a debt or lying in an attempt to collect a debt is against the law (such as a collector pretending that he or she is a law enforcement officer or an attorney)
  7. Contacting Third Parties: Some collectors will attempt to discuss or reveal the nature of your debts with one or more third parties (not including your spouse or your attorney)
  8. Contacting a Consumer Through Embarrassing Media: This may include trying to inform a consumer of his or her debt through a postcard or social media
  9. Reporting False Credit Report Information (or Threatening To): This includes publishing a consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list of any kind
  10. Contacting the Consumer Who Is Known to Have Legal Representation

Damages and Remedies Available in an FDCPA Lawsuit

If the FDCPA has been violated, consumers may have one or more damages and/or remedies available to them.

Monetary Remedies

The monetary remedies available to consumers are extensive, including damages for physical distress and damages for emotional distress. Some other remedies include:

  • Recovery of lost wages
  • Wage garnishment recovery
  • Statutory damages up to $1,000 per lawsuit

In situations where a consumer is able to successfully prove that the FDCPA was violated, the court may also allow a consumer to recover all of their attorney’s fees and costs.

Injunctive Remedies

The court may order a debt collector to cease certain activities which are known as providing a consumer “injunctive relief”. Some of these remedies include requiring that a debt collector stops calling your home or your smartphone, and that the debt collector stops sending letters to your address.

Burdened Third Parties Also Have Rights

The FDCPA goes so far as to also extend its protection to third parties who have been burdened by the harassing behavior of a debt collector. Some of the most common third parties include employers and neighbors.

The Benefit of a Legal Review

The Azadian Law Group, PC in the Los Angeles area offers free case evaluations to anyone who believes that his or her rights have been violated by a debt collector. After the assessment, we will also provide you with steps that you can take to end the harassment and protect your financial well-being.

To speak to one of our class action attorneys today, please give us a call at 626-449-4944 or 213-229-9031.

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