The Fait Debt Collection Agency Practices Act (FDCPA) was made law by Congress in 1996 with the purpose of preventing and deterring abusive actions taken by debt collection agencies and debt collectors by offering protection against them to consumers. There are actions consumers can take to protect themselves if debt collectors and debt collection agencies violated federal law when dealing with them. The type of actions the consumer should consider undertaking depends on the end goal of the consumer. The Consumer may sue the debt collector, report the debt collector to government agencies, or use the debt collector’s violation as a bargaining tool during their negotiations.
The consumer can sue the debt collector in a state court or he can sue the dept collector in a small claims court. Bringing suit against a debt collector in a state court yields the greatest financial reward. If a consumer undertakes this action, an attorney is hired and handles the case. The debt collector is sued for violating your legal rights and for the all-legal fees acquired during the court proceedings. Bringing suit against a debt collector in a state court however, take much longer than bring suit against a debt collect in a small claims court. Small claims court is ideal for those of you who do not want to hire any legal representation during the court proceedings. The consumer argues his or her case in front of a judge. This is an expedited process that takes approximately two months after the lawsuit is filed. One negative factor associated with this option is the limited monetary gain the consumer could be awarded relative to bring suit against a debt collector in a state court.
The consumer may also report violations against a debt collector to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a government agency. The FTC is responsible for overseeing debt collector actions and ensuring that the FDCPA is not violated. The consumer may file a complaint against a debt collector that violated his or her rights at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. Consumers may also contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Once a consumer files a complaint to the CFPB, the CFPB works direct with the consumer and the debt collector to find a solution to the problem. Further, if the debt collector or the debt collector agency violated state laws, the consumer may contact and report the violation to the State Attorney General by filing a complaint. The State Attorney General will provide the consumer guidance on what actions to consider such as, possibly a FDCPA lawsuit.
You can also use the violation as leverage to settle your debt against a debt collector or debt collection agency. However, the results you get from undertaking this action depends on the strength of your case. Do you have proof of harassing phone calls (recordings), letters, and witnesses? If so, you have a good chance of negotiating a good deal because the debt collector or the debt collector agency knows that he or she will most likely lose a lawsuit if you decide to take them to court.