Consumer Rights Litigation

The Fair debt collection practices act

Debt collectors have to follow rules. My job is to make sure they do. If debt collectors are calling you, I can make them stop and possibly get you paid for your trouble.

Debt collectors often do bad things. They call you when they aren’t supposed to. They threaten, harass, and annoy you. They send nasty letters. They threaten to file lawsuits based on debt that they cannot possibly sue under. They do this with impunity because most people don’t know that they can sue them for violating  the law.

Debt collectors who behave badly are usually violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (or FDCPA). When a debt collector violates the FDCPA, they are statutorily liable for damages up to $1,000.00 plus any actual damages, costs, and attorney’s fees. That’s right – if a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you hire me to sue them, and we are successful, they have to pay your costs and my fees.

THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

If debt collectors or other businesses are calling or texting your cell phone without your permission or consent they may  be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Each phone call could be worth up to $1,500 in damages. Some companies or collection agencies will call 5 times a day for weeks at a time. The damages can add up quickly. If you are getting texts, calls, or faxes from debt collectors or other businesses, call me immediately and do not delete your call history. I might be able to help you.

CALLS TO YOUR CELL PHONE

Debt collectors and other companies violate the TCPA by calling your cell phone when they:

  1. Call your cell phone and
  2. Use one of the following:
    • A pre-recorded voice,
    • An artificial voice, or
    • An automatic dialing system (ADS)
  3. Without your prior express consent.

TEXTS TO YOUR CELL PHONE

Debt collectors and other companies violate the TCPA by texting your cell phone when they:

  1. Text your cell phone
  2. Through a computer program or some other automated means
  3. Without your express consent.

CALLS TO YOUR LANDLINE PHONE

Debt collectors and other companies violate the TCPA by calling your landline phone when they:

  1. Call your landline telephone for commercial (telemarketing) purposes
  2. Using one of the following:
    • A pre-recorded voice, or
    • An artificial voice
  3. OR any call without your express consent.

JUNK FAXES

Companies violate the TCPA by sending you junk faxes when they:

  1. Send you a commercial fax (usually an advertisement)
  2. At your personal or business fax number (including electronic faxes)
  3. Without:
    • Your express consent; or
    • A prior business relationship.

CREDIT CARD & STUDENT LOAN Lawsuit DEFENSE

SO YOU'VE BEEN SUED

If you're looking at this page, you have probably been served with a summons and complaint. Maybe you are being sued for credit card debt. Maybe it is student loan debt. Either way, it's pretty likely that you've never heard of the company that is suing you. If it's for credit card debt, it's probably a junk debt buyer. If it's for a student loan, it's probably a debt buyer or a trust that purchases bulk student loan debt.

WHAT IS A DEBT BUYER?

A debt buyer is a company that purchases defaulted debt for almost nothing. They purchase old, bad debt and for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect it from consumers. Some debt gets passed around from buyer to buyer. Eventually one of those buyers will file a lawsuit and hope you don't respond so they can get a judgment. In short, think of the worst company you have ever done business with. Multiply that by 100 and you'll have the average debt buyer.

HOW TO FIGHT BACK

So you've received a summons and complaint. The debt buyer expects you to ignore it so they can take a default judgment and start garnishing wages. What they don't expect is that you'll hire a lawyer and defend the lawsuit. They hope against hope that you don't do that because their records are almost universally terrible. It's a rare case that they have the documentation they need to prove they own the debt. If they can't prove that they own the debt, you can fight back hard and win.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Of course. Sometimes debt buyers bring lawsuits that they don't have the documents to prove. When that happens, they often get counter-sued for violating the FDCPA. So if you have been sued by a debt buyer, don't just ignore it. If you fight back, you might just win.