By: Robert J. Nahoum
In their ever creative ways to communicate with consumers and harass them into paying debts, two Glendale California based debt collectors began a campaign of sending text messages to consumers in which they failed to disclose that the texts were coming from a debt collector.
In a recent suit, the Federal Trade Commission (the nation’s debt collector watchdog) alleged, among other things, that Archie Donovan and two companies he controls – National Attorney Collection Services, Inc., and National Attorney Services LLC sent text messages to consumers without disclosing that they were coming from a debt collector in violation of federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short).
In a settlement reached with the FTC, the debt collectors agreed to pay $1 million dollars to the FTC and to stop sending text messages that do not include the disclosures required by law, and to obtain a consumer’s express consent before contacting them by text message.
No matter how debt collectors communicate with consumers – by mail, by phone, by text or some other way – they have to follow the law,
said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s BCP.
The FTC has a zero tolerance policy for deception.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
If a debt collector has sent you text messages without disclosing its identity as a debt collector, you should contact an experienced consumer protection lawyer and see if you have a case.
The FDCPA includes a private right of action under which a consumer may sue a debt collector for FDCPA violations. If a debt collector is found to have violated the FDCPA, you may recover up to $1,000.00 in statutory damages, plus actual damages (for example pain and suffering) and your reasonable attorneys’ fees.
The FDCPA empowers the consumer to swing the pendulum in the other direction and sue the debt collector for its wrongful conduct.
If you need help settling or defending a debt collection law suit, stopping harassing debt collectors or suing a debt collector, contact us today to see what we can do for you.