Debtors are protected from the harassment by debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If a debt collector has contacted you and has violated the FDCPA, a debtor can sue the debt collector in court. If a FDCPA lawsuit is successful, there are a range of damages provided for under the statute, including monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
When a debt collector violates the FDCPA, the following types of money damages could be available:
Emotional Distress Damages
Real stress that results from relentless telephone calls and collection letters can impact a debtor’s emotional well-being. The debtor’s relationships may suffer. Debt collectors may also call the debtor’s coworkers and family members which can be violations of the FDCPA and increases the stress placed on the debtor. Such occurrences should be documented by the debtor. The debtor may be able to hold the debt collector liable for their distress.
Due to debt collector calls that could disrupt the debtor’s productivity, and sometimes even the productivity of co-workers, debtors may face problems at work. Lost wages could be recovered when a debt collector violates the FDCPA by calling the debtor’s employer.
Physical Distress Damages
Due to the barrage of debt collection calls and letters, some debtors may suffer physical damage such as heart problems related to stress, migraines, and skin rashes. A qualified doctor should first be consulted about any health concerns, and then a FDCPA attorney should be contacted to document all health concerns. Debtors may be able to recover the costs of treatment as well as other damages if the health problems can be linked to FDCPA violations. In fact, there may be civil liability brought against the debt collectors; click here to learn more from one of our past posts on the civil liability of debt collectors.
In addition to other types of damages, the FDCPA may also be able to recover damages of “up to $1,000” per lawsuit (not per violation). To be awarded these damages the consumer only has to prove that the debt collector violated the FDCPA. It is not necessary to show that the violation caused the debtor harm.
If a debt collector who has been garnishing a debtor’s paycheck and has violated the FDCPA, the debtor may be able to recover the funds that were garnished.
Attorney Costs and Fees
If the debtor is successful in proving a FDCPA violation, the court may allow the debtor to recover their attorney’s fees and costs. This is important because without reimbursement, many debtors may not be able to afford to bring FDCPA actions against debt collectors for violations.
Courts also have the power to order the debt collector from doing certain activities. For example, the court may require:
The Debt Collector Cease Calling the Debtor
Debtors can use the FDCPA to stop debt collectors from calling the debtor’s home, work, family, friends, and others people the debtor knows. Ending these types of calls can be a great relief to debtors.
The Debt Collector Cease Sending the Debtor Letters
The flood of collection letters can be just as aggravating as receiving constant telephone calls. Using the FDCPA can stop the letters.
Lawsuits by Third Parties
Anyone, such as the debtors family members, neighbors, the receptionist at the debtor’s place of work, who have received debt collector’s phone calls and letters may also sue under the FDCPA. These third parties will need to prove that the FDCPA was violated and that they have suffered damages because of these violations. For more on the civil liability of debt collectors, click here for one of our past posts.
Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the TCPA and the FDCPA and how telephone debt collectors should act. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at http://www.krohnandmoss.com/.