If you are currently behind on payments for your credit cards, car, medical bills or mortgage, you still have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which protects you against the abusive, harassing and unfair collection practices of some debt collectors. Additionally, you may be dually protected under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which makes it illegal to call someone’s cell phone using an automatic or predictive dialer.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been harassed by a debt collector, you should contact our Fair Debt Collection Act Lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please click here to contact our Fair Debt Collection Act Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
TheFair Debt Collection Practices Act(FDCPA) was passed by the Federal Trade Commission in 1978 in order to protect debtors from being harassed, threatened, mislead or abused by debt collectors.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from using any false, deceptive or misleading information in order to collect a debt. For example, they cannot call you at work if they know you cannot take calls of that nature while working. They also cannot call you at inconvenient times or places.
What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1991 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
It is the primary law that regulates the conduct of telephone solicitors and telemarketers.
The TCPA restricts the use of automatic dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages received by cell phones. In other words, it makes it illegal to call someone’s cell phone using an automatic or predictive dialer without prior express consent of the cell phone user.
TCPA violations can often be combined with FDCPA violations, as a debt collector may use an automatic dialing system to call your cell phone in order to collect a debt. The statutory penalties for a violation of the TCPA are $500 per violation and up to $1,500 per violation for a purposeful violation.
If you have been harassed by a debt collector and he used an automatic dialing system or a prerecorded message to contact you, you may have a case under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. You may want to contact an attorney with The Schmidt Firm, LLP to discuss the potential of your lawsuit.
Restrictions Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
As part of the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from:
- Engaging in harassing, oppressive or abusive conduct
- Making repeated phone calls or phone calls at an unreasonable time
- Calling you at times that are inconvenient for you, especially before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Contacting you if the collector knows you are represented by an attorney
- Contacting you at work when the collector has been told or knows you are not allowed to take calls of that nature while working
- Contacting any relatives, neighbors, employers or any third party (other than your spouse) about information regarding the debt
- Using any threatening language
- Using obscene or profane language, racial slurs or insults
- Reporting false information on your credit report, or threatening to do so
- Threatening violence
- Continuing to pursue a debt that has been properly disputed, without first providing verification to you
- Sending false letters or documents that appear to be from a government agency or court
- Seeking collection fees, interest charges or taxes that are in excess of or not permitted by contract or state law
- Falsely representing himself/herself in order to collect a debt
- Suing in a court that is located too far away from your residence
- Using false claims to collect information
- Contacting you even if you have notified in writing to cease communication
- Falsely threatening you with arrest or imprisonment, implying that you committed a crime by not paying the debt
- Falsely representing the character, amount or legal status of your debt
- Threatening to take action that is not legal or never intended to be taken
- Requesting post-dated checks with the intention of prosecuting if they bounce
- Communicating with you by postcard
If you believe you have been abused by a debt collector, you may be entitled to:
- Have the outstanding debt reduced or eliminated
- Be paid monetary damages up to $1,000
- Clear your credit reports of negative information
- Have the debt collector pay your attorney’s fees
Restrictions Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
As part of the TCPA, debt collectors and other solicitors cannot:
- Make a call to a cell phone through an automatic telephone dialing system or an autodialer
- Call residents before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Make calls to residences or cell phones using artificial voices or recordings
- Make calls without identifying their name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf they are calling, and a phone number or address at which that person may be contacted
If you believe a debt collector violated the TCPA, you may be entitled to:
- $500 to $1,500 for each violation
- Or recover actual monetary loss, whichever is higher.
Do I Have a Fair Debt Collection Act Lawsuit
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been harassed by a debt collector, you should contact our Fair Debt Collection Act Lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Fair Debt Collection Act Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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