By: Robert J. Nahoum
You’re behind on your bills and debt collectors are hot on your trail. The debt collection letters are pouring in the door and the phone is ringing off the hook. Something about those debt collection calls doesn’t sound right. You’re being told information that is false, misleading or harassing. Can you record these calls and prove that the debt collector has violated federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short)?
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA you can sue it for up to $1,000.00 in statutory damages, plus actual damages (for example pain and suffering) and your reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Success in an FDCPA lawsuit is more likely if you have hard evidence that the debt collector used false, misleading or harassing debt collection tactics. A recording of an offensive debt collection call is a valuable piece of evidence.
Whether or not you are allowed to record the call depends on the state the person with whom you are speaking is located. If that person is in a “one-party state” you do not need their permission nor do you need to tell them you are recording the call. If you are in a two-party state, you do.
Currently, there are twelve two-party states that require some form of notice and/or permission to record the calls: Those states are:
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
If a debt collector calls you, before recording the call, ask where they are calling from, if it is one of the twelve two-party states, ask for and receive permission before recording the call. If the debt collector is calling from a one-party state, record away!
A point of warning, recording a call in violation of a two-party state law may carry criminal penalties. Take the recording laws seriously and make sure you are in compliance.
If you’ve recorded what you think may be an FDCPA violation, play it for an experienced consumer protection lawyer and see if you have a case. 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.
The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C