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Understanding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Could you be entitled to compensation?

What is FDCPA?

The FDCPA is a federal law that protects consumers from unfair or abusive debt collection practices. FDCPA gives you the right to dispute the debt. It limits how and when a debt collector may contact you and what the debt collector can say to you. It also gives you the right to force debt collectors to leave you alone.  

 

Understanding your rights under the FDCPA could mean more than the opportunity to stop unwanted harassment by debt collectors. It may also provide an opportunity for compensation in some cases. At Slocum Law, our attorney strives to ensure all FDCPA violations are identified and pursed for our clients in bankruptcy.  However, you do not have to be in a consumer bankruptcy to pursue an FDCPA lawsuit. 

 

FDCPA rules are designed to protect consumers. They relate specifically to consumer debt (not business debt). “Consumer” most commonly refers to someone who purchases products and services for personal use. Consumer debt could be anything related to goods, products and services used mainly for personal, household or family purposes. Most consumer debts — such as personal credit cards, student loans, and medical debts — are covered by the FDCPA.

FDCPA rules apply to debt collectors. Debt collectors are any person or company that regularly collects debts on behalf of another agency – third party collection. Employees of debt collection agencies must follow FDCPA rules. 

 

While most debt collectors are governed by the FDCPA, creditors who are collecting their own debts (not using a third-party debt collection agency) are not. For example, an in-house collections department at a hospital would not be covered by the FDCPA.

How You Can Benefit from FDCPA

When debt collectors violate the FDCPA you have the right to pursue legal action. Slocum Law is experienced in - and regularly has success in - FDCPA cases. 

 

Debt collectors can be sued in federal court within one year of any violation. Upon winning your lawsuit, you will be compensated for damages, attorney’s fees, court costs and perhaps more. 

 

Examples of FDCPA violations include: 

- Threatening to have you arrested or jailed

- Threatening to send false information about you to credit reporting agencies

- Threatening to take your income or other personal belongings

- Calling you repeatedly with the intent to annoy or scare you

- Contacting you without disclosing they are doing so to collect a debt

- Falsely claiming to be an attorney or government employee

- Contacting you after you have hired an attorney to represent you

Pursuing FDCPA Legal Action

If you believe you may have a case against a debt collector for violating FDCPA, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your case is successful. 

 

1. Contact an experienced attorney

FDCPA litigation is a specialized field. Make sure you are working with an experienced attorney. Your attorney’s fees will be paid out of the damages awarded by the court upon winning your case. You should not be charged any money to begin. Slocum Law is an experienced provider of FDCPA legal representation in Tennessee. These cases can even be handled virtually, upon request. 

 

2. Keep a log

When a debt collector contacts you, get as much information as you can including date, time, name, phone number, employer and any notes on the call such as threats or false claims. This log will provide a good record of abuse for your attorney. The more violations recorded, the stronger the case. 

 

3. Record your calls 

Debt collectors may lie about their actions, or you might not remember it well after some time has passed.  With a recording, you have proof of exactly what was said.

 

Ongoing harassment by collections agencies is common. It happens often. Slocum Law regularly pursues agencies that violate FDCPA and debt collection laws. Schedule an appointment with Slocum Law to discuss your case today. 

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