Those Damn Debt Collectors!

By: Robert J. Nahoum

A man in suit and tie with his arms crossed.

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar, the dishes are done, the kids have gone to sleep, you and your spouse are sitting around the kitchen table staring at pile of bills and the family finances trying to figure out if there is anything left to cut. The credit cards are maxed, your job doesn’t give you dental insurance and your oldest kid has a cavity. Your house is under water, your behind in your mortgage and your boss just cut back your hours. Then the phone rings – it’s the debt collector calling for the fifth time today.

DEBT COLLECTOR – “is this john smith?”
YOU – “yes”
DEBT COLLECTOR – “Federal law requires that we inform you that this call is from a debt collector, this is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained may be used for that purpose.”

We have all had this call and been left wondering what to do. The good news is, there is something you can do and that obnoxious debt collector told you about it. That federal law he so casually mentioned is called the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (the FDCPA) and if he violates it, he may owe you $1,000. Not only that, he may have to pay your lawyer’s fees. You can sue that debt collector and it won’t cost you a penny. The debt collector doesn’t want to talk about that.

So how do you know if you have an FDCPA case?  Here are some of the most common violations

If you think you have an FDCPA case you should contact a qualified attorney experienced in the FDCPA.  As  a good consumer lawyer will analyzes your cases to determine if any violations of the FDCPA have occurred.  If a debt collecotr violates the FDCPA, you can sue for statutory damages up to $1,000.00 plus actual damages (like pain and suffering) and your attorney’s fees.  In FDCPA cases, a good consumer lawyer won’t charge clients a penny out of pocket.