Debtor’s Rights under the FDCPA & TCPA
Two of the most powerful federal laws that protect consumers from harassment by creditors and invasion of privacy are the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)
The FDCPA is a federal law that was created to protect debtors from abusive collection techniques and practices. Abuse by a debt collector can take many forms: threatening and abusive phone calls, deceptive collection letters, sharing your personal information regarding your debts with family members, co-workers, or other third parties. If you have been the victim of debt collection harassment, you may have the right to sue the debt collector under the FDCPA, which allows you to sue debt collectors for their abusive, deceptive, or misleading conduct. The FDCPA enables you to recover your actual damages, plus statutory damages of at least $1,000. In addition, under the law, the debt collector has to pay attorney’s fees and costs. As a result, a debtor doesn’t have to pay any upfront legal fees to bring an FDCPA case.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is any person or company, other than your original creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes attorneys who regularly collect debts. The debts that are covered by the FDCPA are those that are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. If you have a debt that is for a business, alimony, child support, criminal fines, and tort lawsuit claims are generally not considered debts within the scope of the FDCPA.
Is A Creditor Unlawfully Harassing You
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may have an FDCPA claim:
- Have received persistent phone calls or letters from debt collectors?
- Have received phone calls from at inappropriate times (between 9PM at night and 8AM in the morning)?
- Have received phone calls in which a debt collector used obscene or profane language?
- Have received phone calls in which a debt collector refuses to identify themselves?
- Have received phone calls in which a debt collector threatened you with arrest or lawsuits, falsely implying that you have committed a crime?
- Has a debt collector has falsely implied that they are attorneys or government representatives?
- Have you received a postcard from a debt collector?
- Are you receiving annoying automated calls? (if yes, please read about the TCPA below)
- Has a debt collector reported false information on your credit report?
- Has a debt collector has contacted your friends, family, neighbors or co-workers and mentioned your debts?
- Has a debt collector contacted you even though they know you are represented by an attorney?
- Has a debt collector used of threats of violence when speaking to you? or
- Have suffered any other type of debt collection harassment?
Under the FDCPA, once you inform your debt collectors that you are represented by an attorney, they are required by law, with very limited exceptions, to stop contacting you and to start contacting your attorney instead. As a result, the harassing and abusive debt collection practices will often stop almost immediately. We will handle all communication with the collectors.
At the Law Offices of David I. Pankin, P.C., we understand how frustrating and frightening it can be to deal with harassing and abusive debt collectors. As New York debt collection attorneys. we are committed to providing you with the compassionate and vigorous representation that you deserve. You have the right to make the debt collection agency pay for their violations of the law. To consult with an experienced FDCPA attorney, please contact our office by phone at 888-529-9600 to arrange for a free, initial consultation. The consultation is free and there are no upfront legal fees if we choose to take your case.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
If you have been called illegally on your cell phone or sent improper text messages, you may be entitled to financial damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The TCPA is a federal law that protects you from certain types of unsolicited phone calls. The law prohibits auto-dialed calls, including ones with a live person at the other end, or calls using an artificial or prerecorded voice to either a cell phone under certain circumstances to a residential number provided you have not given the caller prior express written consent. Your consent must be both express and unambiguous. The law also prohibits most unsolicited faxes and texts messages. If you have received these types of calls or texts messages, you may be entitled to between $500 and $1500 per violation in damages.
Examples of TCPA violations include:
- Unsolicited Auto-Dialed Calls That Connect To A Live Person
- Unsolicited Rob calls Using A Prerecorded Or Computerized Voice
- Unsolicited Text Messages
If the above examples apply to you, you may be entitled to $500 to 1500 per Call or Text!
You have the right to financial compensation if companies attempt to contact you in an illegal manner. To consult with a TCPA attorney today, please contact our office by phone at 888-529-9600 to arrange for a free, initial consultation.