Make no mistake – you have the right to be free from harassment from debt collectors. Consumer protection laws guarantee this right, and if it is being compromised by the abusive, oppressing, or harassing actions of a debt collector, speak with a skilled New York debt defense attorney about defending your consumer rights. The purpose of this article is to inform consumers of their rights, and educate them about legal procedures that exist to hold debt collectors accountable for their abusive practices.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects Consumers from Abusive Practices
No matter how you have acquired debt – whether because of lost or missed work, medical bills, divorce, or any other circumstance – you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity and to be free from abusive debt collection practices. The law that guarantees this right is the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law, passed by Congress in 1977, allows consumers to sue debt collectors for abusive practices. This is where a skilled New York debt-defense attorney can prove his or her worth.
Once you retain a debt-defense attorney and inform collectors that you have done so, they must cease their harassing phone calls. All communications must then be through your attorney. This is because, in spite of their loathsome practices, debt collectors are aware of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Not only that, but they are afraid of the law because they know they can be held responsible for their abusive conduct. An experienced debt-defense attorney can force a debt collector to verify that a debt even exists in the first place. And if the actions of a debt collector violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can sue the debt-collector for damages.
Recovery under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can be of two types: statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages you have suffered. (Statutory damages are damages that can be awarded even if you cannot show actual damages.) In addition, if you are the prevailing party, the debt-collector must pay your attorney fees and costs. Unfortunately, abusive debt collection practices have caused more harm than just harassment. The toll collection abuse takes on individuals hurts the U.S. economy by causing health woes, marital distress and discord, job losses, and other ill effects. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is there to protect consumers.
In terms of specific examples of debt collection conduct prohibited by the FDCPA, there is harassment or abuse, false and misleading representation, and other unfair practices. The list of these ill deeds is very long, and the existence of ample evidence confirming their regularity is the reason that Congress passed the act in the first place. If you have been threatened, spoken to an obscene way, told you will be arrested or imprisoned, then you have been a victim of abusive debt collection practices. To fight back – to protect your rights – contact a skilled and experienced New York debt defense attorney today.