DEBT COLLECTION LAWYERS PROTECTING CONSUMERS FROM ILLEGAL COLLECTION PRACTICES
No one who works hard to pay bills should have to be harassed by a debt collector. If you’re getting calls at work, for example, or late at night, or if a debt collector has been deceptive or verbally abusive, there’s a law that protects you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits abusive debt collection practices. It defines your rights as a consumer, and it spells out the penalties that debt collectors may face for violating those rights.
The FDCPA gives consumers the right to sue a debt collector for relief from harassment, awarding consumers damages and attorney’s fees in successful cases.
If you’re being harassed by a debt collector, a debt collection attorney at the Chicago Consumer Law Center can examine your situation and suggest a course of action. We work with consumers throughout the Chicago area, and we find solutions to the most difficult consumer debt problems.
WHAT DOES THE FDCPA REQUIRE?
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors who seek information from a third party, such as a friend, relative, or employer, about the location of a borrower must identify themselves, their motive, and if asked, their company. They may contact these third parties only once unless the information they seek is inaccurate or missing.
And when a debt collector learns that a borrower has retained a lawyer for a debt, the debt collector must communicate only with the lawyer. At the Chicago Consumer Law Center, we routinely represent consumers in these circumstances.
If a borrower or a borrower’s attorney tells a debt collector to stop contacting them, the debt collector – with only narrow exceptions – is prohibited from further contact.
However, the FDCPA applies only to debt collectors and to collection agencies. It does not apply to “original” creditors who are trying to collect their own debts, unless the creditor is collecting the debt under a different name.
WHAT PRACTICES ARE ILLEGAL UNDER THE FDCPA?
Debt collectors may not use unfair or deceptive practices, harass, oppress, or abuse you in the course of collecting a debt. The following practices are specifically forbidden by the FDCPA. Debt collectors may not:
- falsely represent the amount or status of a debt
- collect interest, fees, or charges unless authorized by the original contract or state law
- claim to be or imply to be a government official or an attorney
- threaten impermissible legal action or any legal action that is not in fact intended
- use any deceptive practices
- use obscene or offensive language
- use or threaten to use violence
- bully or intimidate a borrower in any way
HOW ARE FDCPA VIOLATIONS PENALIZED?
Debt collectors who don’t follow the law may be liable for damages. If you prevail with a lawsuit against a debt collector, the amount of any damages you receive will depend on the nature and extent of the debt collector’s noncompliance.
If you believe that a debt collector or a collection agency has violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collection attorney at the Chicago Consumer Law Center will evaluate the situation to see if you have a case.
Learn more. Use the contact form on this website or call the Chicago Consumer Law Center at (312) 858-3240. We help consumers in and near the Chicago area deal with the most challenging types of debt issues.