California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
California, like many states, sought to close the FDCPA loopholes by enacting legislation to strengthen consumer protection. California passed the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, becoming one of the most consumer protective states in the country.
The Rosenthal Act, while affording consumers the same substantive protections of the FDCPA — including those dealing with false misrepresentations, threats, harassment and unwarranted communications with persons other than the actual debtor — expanded the definition of “debt collector ” to include original creditors. Under California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, anyone “who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on behalf of himself or herself or others, engages in debt collection” is subject to the provisions of the law. (See Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788 et seq.) This means that collection agencies, original creditors, and repossession agencies must all adhere to laws that prohibit abusive debt collection practices.
Knowing Which Law Covers Your Case Can Be Confusing
While these federal and state laws protect consumers, many people are not aware of their rights and how to protect themselves from abusive and harassing creditors.
California consumers can bring a suit for damages under both the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act within a year of the violations, but which law governs which case scenario can be confusing.
For example, both the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Limit their protections to consumer debt (e.g., debt incurred for personal, family, or household purposes). Neither covers collections practices that occur in connection with business and commercial debts, even if the business debt takes the form of a personal loan. Further, the laws’ protections do not extend to attempts to collect alimony, child support, criminal fines and tort claims.
While you can bring an action against a third party lender under both state and federal law, if you want to bring an action against an original lender, you must bring suit under the California Rosenthal Act, even though the same standards will apply regardless of the relationship of the collector to the original lender.
Contact McFarlin LLP and Protect Your Rights
Whether you can invoke the protections of the FDCPA, the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or even if their law applies to your circumstances, the lawyers at McFarlin LLP can get collectors off your back and help you regain your financial footing.