Debt collection calls can be stressful and overwhelming. Most Californians who are receiving repeated and nerve-racking debt collection calls are not deceitful people who are trying to defraud their creditors, they are hard-working people who have fallen behind on their bills and struggling to catch up. Have you fallen behind on your bills and found yourself getting persistent calls from debt collectors? If you have and are experiencing repeated debt collection calls without the funds to pay them in full immediately, there may be other ways to get them to stop.
Debt Collection Laws
There are both state and federal laws that govern the practice of debt collection. The most commonly known law is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a Federal law that details the conduct and actions third-party debt collectors can take while endeavoring to collect debts from individuals. Specifically, the FDCPA indicates which behaviors are not permitted. The FDCPA prohibits the following:
- Harassment or Abuse
- False or Misleading Representations
- Unfair Practices
Filing A Lawsuit
If you have clear and convincing proof that a debt collector has violated any of the laws outlined in the FDCPA you can file a FDCPA lawsuit against that debt collector. With the necessary evidence to prove the debt collector violated your rights a judge can find in your favor and you can be awarded a monetary judgment and the debt collector will have to cease the unscrupulous behavior.
Filing a lawsuit against a debt collector is not a sure thing and it has its downsides. There are various ramifications that can result in filing a lawsuit against a debt collector. For instance, if the statute of limitations on the debt has not expired you may find yourself receiving a summons and complaint seeking a judgment for the full amount of the debt. If you believe your rights have been violated, speak with a qualified attorney and discuss your specifics and your options.
Filing a lawsuit isn’t your only option. If you honestly feel like the debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by visiting their website www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by filling out an online complaint form through their website www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint. You can also file a complaint with The California State Attorney General. California debt collection laws have the same basic principles as the FDCPA.
Another common option is using the debt collector’s violations as leverage to begin a productive settlement negotiation. More than likely the debt collector knows they are violating the guidelines of the FDCPA and are hoping the debtors are unaware of their rights. Use the violation as a chance for you to work out settlement terms that are favorable to you and are within your means. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can help you negotiate with the debt collector and provide you valuable assistance during the settlement negotiations.