What is the FDCPA and What Does an FDCPA Attorney Do?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law enacted for the regulation of debt collectors and the protection of consumers. The FDCPA sets the ground rules for interactions between debt collectors and the parties they are seeking a debt from.
In general, collectors cannot:
- Call you before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M. local time
- Contact people other than you and tell them you owe a debt
- Call you at work
- Curse at you or insult you
- Lie to you about your debt or misrepresent who they are
- Make false threats of consequences to not paying
Violations of the FDCPA do not go overlooked. In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought numerous lawsuits against collection agencies for violations, resulting in settlements for millions of dollars. While not all of these settlements went to consumers directly, they are further proof that the law will be enforced.
A simple Internet search can provide plenty of information for consumers about enforcing their rights. However, having an experienced attorney who has handled cases similar to yours will prevent potential blunders from misinformation or misdirection.
STEP INTO YOUR SHOES
Being in debt is already a stressful and unsettling experience that is only exacerbated by the relentless phone calls of collection agencies. Telling the creditor you do not have the money will not make their calls stop, but an FDCPA attorney can. Under the FDCPA, once a collector knows you are represented by an attorney, their contact with you must cease for all but a few exceptions. An FDCPA attorney knows the law and can take on all communications with your creditors so you no longer have to worry about answering your phone.
DECODE THE LAW
Thanks to the Internet, consumers have access to the FDCPA, but like many laws, those outside the legal profession easily misunderstand it. An FDCPA attorney is trained and experienced in interpreting and applying the law, and can help you understand how it applies to you.
Like all laws, the FDCPA has been further defined and redefined by court decisions. For example, the terms “consumers” and “debt collectors” have been further defined in recent cases. An FDCPA attorney will know the case history and how implications of court outcomes might affect your case.
The FDCPA is a federal law and each state is permitted to enact its own laws to provide consumers further protections. An FDCPA attorney can let you know how the laws of your particular state interact with the FDCPA.
GET YOU THE INFORMATION YOU NEED
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to disclose certain information if you request it. You have the right to challenge your debt and have it validated by the collectors. An FDCPA attorney knows the most important information to request and how it can be used to your benefit.
ENFORCE YOUR RIGHTS
The FDCPA provides possible civil remedies for consumers who have had their rights violated under the act. FDCPA attorneys are well versed in the law and can recognize unfounded threats, punishments, or representations that are violation of the Act. If a violation of your rights has occurred, an attorney can either use that violation as leverage when negotiating your debt or alternatively, help you pursue legal recourse for the violation. It is important to keep in mind that an FDCPA violation by your collector does not eliminate your debt, but it may help in your negotiations.
If you would like to learn more about your rights or feel that your rights may have been violated, speak with one of the FDCPA lawyers at McCarthy Law today in a free consultation.
Kevin Fallon McCarthy
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