Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
It’s fairly common for consumers who have fallen behind on their payments for various debts to be confronted by collection agencies. Although debt collectors may be intimidating at times, you may need to deal with them, at least for a short period of time. However, this does not mean you must go against your creditors alone. Certain laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), aim to protect consumers against aggressive creditors.
Congress established the FDCPA in attempts to curtail abusive conduct on the part of collection agencies. Lawmakers were also concerned that repeat abuses were resulting in an increase in personal bankruptcy filings nationwide. The law serves as a guideline for collection agencies when attempting to collect debts, while also providing protections and remedies for debtors.
The FDCPA protects the consumer from harassment, threats, unwanted calls to the workplace and disclosing the existence of debt to friends, family and neighbors. The law forbids collection agencies from contacting consumers at unreasonable times, including after 8 p.m. and before 9 a.m. Additionally, it allows consumers to request proof that they actually owe the funds debt collectors are demanding.
Under the FDCPA, consumers have the right to sue a debt collector in a state or federal court up to one year from the date of the violation. If the case is won, consumers may be able to recover damages in the amount of loss suffered, plus an additional amount up to $1,000. Consumers may also be able to recover the costs of court and legal fees.
If you feel an aggressive creditor has violated your rights, contact an experienced Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about your legal options.