Congress realized that consumers are at a huge disadvantage versus banks and mortgage companies and the debt collectors they hire. These are two statutes that level the playing field for consumers faced with unfair collection practices and harassment. Violating either of these acts subjects the bad guys to automatic penalties. In order to put teeth in these laws, Congress included fee-shifting statutes, meaning, the bad guys have to pay YOUR LEGAL FEES when they lose.
If you hire me, I may get more dollars than you do but you are free of the illegal tactics that brought you into my office in the first place.
The Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are also statutes with fee shifting provisions. I can assist you with those as well but the violations of the FDCPA & TCPA are much more common.
WHAT IS THE FDCPA?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive collection practices. The FDCPA prohibits collectors from using deceptive means when collecting a debt. It also prohibits agencies from contacting debtors at irregular hours — the maximum statutory damages of the FDCPA amount to $1,000 but actual damages you suffer are also recoverable.
COMMON VIOLATIONS OF THE FDCPA
Trying to collect a debt that is not owed by you. Humans make mistakes all the time
You can read about Zombie Debt in some of my blog posts.
Zombie debt, so named because it never dies, are debts, allegedly, purchased by companies like Midland Funding or LVNV, from credit card companies and others.
That debt may be past the statute of limitations, already paid, discharged in bankruptcy or belong to someone else, as in identity theft situations.
Debt collectors like to threaten arrest, garnishment, seizing your car or even arrest.
In Michigan, no debt collector can do any of these things.
Why do they keep doing it? BECAUSE IT WORKS!
They scare people into paying, giving their bank account information over the phone. They often make the business decision that intentionally violating the law brings in more money than if they followed the law.
WHAT IS THE TCPA?
President G. Bush signed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. If you are on the do not call list, or have tole them to stop after one call, it prohibits automated calls, texts, or faxes sent creditors or their hired guns.
The TCPA also specifies several technical requirements concerning the use of auto-dialers (robo calls) voice messaging systems. Violations subject the bad guy to $500 fine per CALL. Unless the violation is ruled intentional – which ups the damages to $1,500 per call.
Do not try this at home. All of these statutes have highly technical hoops to jump through to successfully sue.
Contact Kurt O'Keefe at 313-962-4630 so you can get your questions answered and get your life moving back in the right direction.
GET RELIEF FROM CREDITOR ABUSE
Bankruptcy can be extraordinarily complicated. With so much on the line, it is wise to consult with Kurt O'Keefe, a qualified bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the process and decide which type of bankruptcy is right for you.