The main purpose of the FDCPA ? or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ? is to provide consumers protection from overly zealous debt collectors and other aggressive actions by debt collection agencies. If a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, there are several steps that you may be entitled to take under the law. An experienced FDCPA attorney will be able to speak with you about the facts and circumstances of your case, as well as assist you with taking the appropriate legal action or actions. This article will explore some of your potential legal options.
Sue the Debt Collector in the State Court
If a consumer brings a lawsuit in state court against the debt collector, the consumer must prove that the debt collector violated the FDCPA. The ad damnum (or the amount of money for which the consumer sues the debt collector) will include the consumer?s attorney?s fees, as well as all legal costs and expenses. If the consumer prevails in the lawsuit, he or she may be able to recover $1,000.00 in statutory damages ? and potentially even more if the consumer suffered harm from the debt collector?s FDCPA violations.
Sue the Debt Collector in Small Claims Court
Instead of suing the debt collector in the state trial court, the consumer may elect to sue the debt collector in small claims court. This may be the better option if the consumer does not want to hire an attorney or spend the time necessary for a state court lawsuit and subsequent litigation. The small claims court process typically culminates in a short hearing before a judge, and the hearing generally takes place less than two months after the consumer files the lawsuit.
Report the Debt Collector?s Actions to a Governmental Agency
As an alternative, or in addition to suing the debt collector, the consumer could also elect to report the debt collector?s behavior to the Federal Trade Commission ? or FTC ? which is in charge of overseeing debt collectors? actions and making sure that debt collectors do not violate the FDCPA. A consumer may file a complaint with the FTC online.
Report the Debt Collector?s Actions to the State Attorney General
The attorney general?s office for your state may be able to offer guidance on a possible FDCPA lawsuit, as well as provide information about potential actions you may take against debt collectors in your state.
Use the Debt Collector?s Actions as Leverage to Settle Your Debt
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA and you are trying to pay off your debt, you may be able to use the debt collector?s FDCPA violations as leverage to settle the outstanding amount of your debt. In order to obtain the most settlement leverage, you will want to assemble the following:
- Any letters or other written records from the debt collector
- Any records of multiple phone calls from the debt collector
- Testimony of any coworkers who received phone calls from the debt collector
Contact a Minnesota FDCPA Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If a debt collector has violated the FDCPA in its dealings with you, the consumer, contact the experienced FDCPA lawyers at Gregory J. Wald, Attorney at Law by calling 952-921-5802.