By: Robert J. Nahoum
Times are tough for you as they are for so many of us these days. You’ve fallen behind on bills and the debt collectors have been after you. You get regular letters in the mail and your phone rings off the hook.
In most, but not all letters and phone calls, the debt collector warns that: “this communication is from a debt collector, any information obtained will be used for that purpose”.
Federal debt collection laws called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short), regulates the collection of consumer debts by third party debt collectors. The FDCPA generally prohibits the use of false, deceptive, harassing and misleading debt collection tactics. If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, it can be sued for statutory damages up to $1,000.00, actual damages (like pain and suffering) and the debt collector may have to pay for the consumer’s attorney.
One of the consumer protections provided by the FDCPA is the so called “Mini-Miranda” warning which requires debt collectors to make meaningful identification of who they are and why they are communicating.
The Mini-Miranda is essentially a slang term-of-art and not officially defined. The Mini-Miranda is designed prevent debt collectors from using false pretenses in its efforts to collect a debt. For example, many consumers will often refuse to speak with debt collectors when they call. To get around this, a debt collector might try to disguise who they are. This tactic is expressly prohibited by the FDCPA and the Min-Miranda is designed to prevent this kind of deception.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
If a debt collector communicates with you, whether in writing or on the phone, and fails to provide the Mini-Miranda, should speak with a consumer attorney to see if you have a case under the FDCPA.
The FDCPA gives consumers the power to turn the tables on the debt collector. If a debt collector has used false, deceptive or harassing debt collection tactics against you, call a consumer attorney to see if you have a case. If you do, you can sue the debt collector for statutory damages up to $1,000.00, actual damages (like pain and suffering) and best of all, the debt collector may have to pay for your legal fees. This means an FDCPA case should not cost you a penny out of pocket.
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. With office located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Rockland County, the Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum defends consumers in debt collection cases throughout the Tristate area including New Jersey.