By: Robert J. Nahoum
Q: How can a pregnant woman tell that she’s carrying a future lawyer?
A: She has an uncontrollable craving for bologna.
Q: How does an attorney sleep?
A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.
Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a liar?
A: The pronunciation.
Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.
We’ve heard all the jokes about truth challenged lawyers. This label is particularly accurate when it comes to debt collection lawyers – take it from me, I used to be one. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, of course not all debt collection lawyers are liars but many are – too many.
While there are many reasons and motivations for debt collection lawyers to lie (I will leave the psychoanalysis to the professionals), at its core, lying just makes it a whole lot easier to collect a debt then telling the truth. In every lawsuit the plaintiff has to prove its case through admissible evidence. This is an obvious inconvenience for the debt collection lawyer who only wants to get a default judgment against you so that he or she can freeze your bank account or garnishee your wages.
The nuisance of due process and proving a debt collection case doesn’t generally fit into the profitable business model of high volume, contingent recovery debt collection lawyers and their debt buyer clients. If everyone sued by a debt collection lawyer and debt buyer actually fought back and made the debt collection lawyer prove their case, the debt collection industry would likely come to an abrupt halt.
So, for the debt collection lawyer, the motivation to lie is right there, it is the low hanging fruit just waiting to be plucked from the tree of justice. They could admit to the judge that they can’t prove their case or they could fudge it and get their hands on the deeply coveted golden default judgment.
How can this be? How can they cheat? How can they lie? The short answer is that they can’t. Forget for a minute the rules of ethics all of us lawyers must live by. There is a set of federal laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short) which generally prohibits debt collectors including debt collection lawyers from using unfair or unconscionable debt collection practices when trying to collect a debt.
If a debt collection lawyer is found to have violated the FDCPA, they may owe you $1,000.00 in statutory damages, plus your actually damages (for example the cost to defend against the debt collection lawsuit where the lies were first told) and have to pay your attorneys’ fees. That means it is free to you to sue the debt collector.
If you have been contacted or sued by a debt collection lawyer and you think he or she is lying, give us a call and let us see if you have been the victim of an FDCPA violation.
About the Author
Robert Nahoum is a Hudson Valley (with offices in Nyack, Rockland County) attorney practicing consumer protection and general litigation in the Tri-State Area including New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, Bergen County New Jersey and Fairfield County Connecticut. His practice includes consumer protection, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), debtor’s rights, debt defense, mortgage foreclosure, Truth In Lending, Auto Fraud and general civil litigation.
Knowledge is power and it is my intention to empower my readers to be victors instead of victims when the go out in the marketplace.