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What You Need to Know About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Just because you owe money doesn’t mean you have to have to put up with harassment and constant upset. Being in debt does not mean you lose your rights to privacy and your sense of security.
Everyone deserves to live in peace. But if you are like many people who have fallen behind on payments, you are living under a seemingly non-stop barrage of daily collection calls and other debt collector strategies that are interfering with your peace of mind.
Enough is enough. And the federal government agrees. That is why Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and why a dedicated FDCPA violation attorney at McFarlin LLP is ready to help you fight back.
Consumers Protections Under the FDCPA
The FDCPA is a consumer protection law that everyone who owes money needs to understand. Knowledge about the FDCPA is your first line of defense. While a McFarlin LLP FDCPA violation attorney can help you relate the provisions of the law to your specific circumstances and enforce the law against violators, the following lays out some of the most important aspects of the law
In a nutshell, the FDCPA provides the ground rules for debt collection agencies, specifically prohibiting certain activities. It also lets the consumer wield the power of being able to bring a civil action against a collection agency that is violating the rules.
There are some limitations to the protections of the FDCPA. It only applies to consumer (personal or household) debt and does not hold original creditors to the same standards as third-party collectors. Fortunately for California residents, there are state laws to bridge most of these gaps.
An FDCPA Violation Attorney Can Explain Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The right to keep your financial situation private.
What is going on in your financial life is your business, and you should not be held up to public scrutiny or ridicule because someone is trying to collect a debt from you. Creditors subject to the FDCPA are not allowed to disclose your private financial information to just anyone or send letters or packaging through the mail that make it apparent from their outside appearance that the communication is for debt collections purposes.
When trying to get a hold of you, the only people they are allowed to talk to are your spouse, your legal guardian, or your attorney, and when they talk to them they can only say that they are trying to locate you. They are not supposed to go beyond this very tight circle no matter how hard it is to find you.
There are limits to when debt collectors are allowed to contact you.
Debt collectors who are subject to the FDCPA are prohibited from contacting you at times that are inconvenient for you. Generally speaking, this means no phone calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and no contacting you at work if they know or should know this is not allowed.
You should never be made to feel threatened.
The federal law prohibits creditors from harassing you by threatening physical harm or public humiliation. They cannot confront you using obscene language or behave abusively in any way, through words or actions. Threatening behaviors include the early cashing of checks that you had post dated, using certain pay-as-you-go phone numbers or other forms of communication that could result in your incurring fees you did not agree to, or falsely threatening you, including threats of legal action they have no intention of following up on.
You have the right and the power to prevent further communication.
If you write a letter to the creditor stating your demand that they discontinue all communications to you, they must stop contacting you immediately. Similarly, if you hire an attorney, such as a McFarlin LLP debt attorney, to represent you and inform the credit agency of this, they have to, by law, communicate with your attorney and not you.
You have the right to sue credit agencies for damages if they violate the FDCPA.
Under the federal law, consumers like you can recover up to $1,000 plus reasonable attorney fees if a creditor is shown to have violated any provisions of the FDCPA. In California, you may be entitled to even more in damages under state law.
How a FDCPA Violation Attorney Can Help
If you have any questions about your rights under either the FDCPA or California law, the attorneys at McFarlin LLP can help. In addition, if you believe you have been the victim of creditor harassment or unlawful collections practices, our FDCPA violation attorneys will evaluate your case at no charge and, if appropriate, represent you in a case for monetary damages. Finally, since we are licensed California attorneys with experience in negotiating debt settlement agreements, the attorneys at McFarlin LLP can help you get rid of your debt once and for all.
For a free consultation, call us at 949-544-2640 or contact us online.