By: Robert J. Nahoum
Have debt collectors been hounding you? Would you say they have been “harassing” you? Federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short) has established guidelines for conduct that is forbidden as “harassment”. If a debt collector commits any of the forbidden acts, you the consumer may have the right to sue and recover up to $1,000.00 in damages plus actual damages including your attorneys’ fees.
So what conduct is prohibited?
A debt collector may not:
(1) use or threaten to use violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) use obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) publish a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency.
(4) advertise for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Cause a telephone to ring or engage any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
(7) engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
This list is expressly non-exhaustive and can be generally applied to any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
If a debt collector 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, most good consumer lawyers don’t charge their clients a penny out of pocket.