Did you know that there are laws designed to protect you from being treated disrespectfully by debt collectors? The FDCPA is a law designed to protect vulnerable consumers from debt collectors who use unfair or unethical tactics to attempt to collect a debt. This means that debt collectors can’t call you non stop, swear at you, or threaten you with jail or lawsuits to try and intimidate you into paying a debt. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations by debt collectors have a statutory penalty of $1,000.00. However, in California, depending on the violation, the penalties can be worth up to $2,000.00. This law also allows for attorney fees and court costs to be paid by the debt collector so you don’t pay anything!

Eligibility

To qualify for damages under this law:
You must be a consumer who made purchases for personal, home or family use, usually with a credit card or another unsecured loan.  A debt collector for that debt must have harassed you or treated you unfairly. A “debt collector” is defined as someone who is now collecting the debt after you defaulted on your payments. Debt collectors are not the companies who originally extended you credit.  However, in California, the law also does protect consumers from the companies who originally extended the credit.

Please read the list below for examples of what qualifies as “unfair practices.”

Has a debt collector:

  • Called you before 8:00 a.m., after 9:00 p.m., or at any time that they are given notice that it is inconvenient to call?
  • Contacted your family, neighbor or friend and told them about your debt?
  • Placed calls to you without disclosing their identity?
  • Continued to call your place of employment even after they have been advised that you cannot accept calls at work?
  • Used any profane language or any language that is harassing and abusive?
  • Engaged in any conduct meant to harass, abuse or oppress you?
  • Made any misrepresentations of fact, such as how much money you owe, or certain actions they may take to force payment?
  • Threatened you with arrest or criminal prosecution?
  • Sent false information about you to the credit bureaus?
  • Contacted you after being notified that you had attorney representation?
  • Threatened or used physical force, violence, or any criminal means to cause harm to you, your reputation, or your property?
  • Sent you correspondence that looks like it came from the court or an attorney’s office, when it actually did not come from the court or attorney’s office?
  • Called you using a computerized or “robo” dialer without your express, written consent?
  • Done anything else that was unfair or disrespectful to you?

If any of these apply to you, you may make a FDCPA or TCPA claim.

Call (714) 617-8387 now for more information!

Why Hire Higbee & Associates?

Higbee & Associates advocates for consumers! Our Consumer Advocacy Division is exclusively committed to protecting your rights. We handle your entire case from start to finish, no matter how long it takes! Our consumer advocacy attorneys are some of the best. Not only do we have over 50 years of combined experience, but we are passionate about fighting for consumers who are being hassled by debt collectors. Don’t trust just anyone to handle this for you–you need the experts at Higbee & Associates on your team, fighting for you!

Higbee & Associates is a national law firm, thoroughly dedicated to helping clients get a second chance. We pride ourselves on our stellar reputation and top-notch customer service. We have earned the trust of thousands of clients through our successful handling of their cases, and we have earned an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau for our zealous client representation. To read what our clients have to say about us, click here.

Benefits:

  • Have experienced attorneys handle your case from start to finish
  • Stop the constant harassment from creditors
  • No cost to you
  • You don’t have to go court in most cases-our experienced attorneys will appear in court on your behalf
  • Stop fighting with creditors and their attorneys – let us fight for YOU!

Hire Higbee & Associates, and you will receive the best representation the industry has to offer:

  • Top rated attorneys dedicated to your rights
  • Over 50 years combined experience
  • Flat fee pricing
  • “A+” rated representation
  • Above and beyond customer service
  • Fully committed to your success

Some other notable reasons are:

Value. At Higbee & Associates, we believe all individuals and companies deserve to receive high-quality representation at an affordable cost. We offer flat-fee pricing with no hidden fees.

Technology. We use the most current cutting edge technology and legal resources to help us complete our cases more quickly. We have access to all the latest decisions that impact debt collection law, and have connections to industry experts.

Personal Service. At Higbee & Associates, providing high quality customer service is our top priority. We take our clients seriously, listen to their concerns, and advise them accordingly. We answer all phone calls and emails promptly, and treat our clients with the highest level of respect and professionalism.

Call (714) 617-8387 for your FREE consultation now!

FAQ

Do all debts fall under the protection of the FDCPA?

No, only consumer debts fall under the protection of the FDCPA. “Consumer debt” is defined as debt that was used for personal, family or household purposes.  Business debts are not covered under the FDCPA. The debt also must have involved a voluntary transaction and not a debt placed upon you, such as a parking ticket or municipal fine.

Is anyone who collects a debt considered a debt collector? 

No.  A debt collector is a company that regularly engages in the collection of debts for another company.  That means that the original creditor is not a collector for FDCPA purposes. If a new company buys the debt after you default on payments, that new company qualifies as a debt collector under FDCPA. Any person or company that takes on collecting a delinquent debt for the original creditor is a debt collector.

Please note: In California, state law also considers an original creditor a debt collector, so you can recover damages in California that you can not recover in other states. Sometimes this allows for additional damages.

Can collectors call my family, friends or co-workers?

A debt collector can make a call to a family member, friend, relative, or neighbor but only to seek your location information. They can also only call a person once and cannot tell anyone that you owe a debt.  Also, if a collector is advised that you cannot take calls at your place of employment, they may not call there at all.

Are there limits to times and places that a debt collector can call me?

Debt collectors cannot call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., or at any time that is known by them to be inconvenient.  This means that if you tell them not to call on Sundays, or you tell them you sleep at certain times during the day and they ignore your request, they are in violation of the law and you have an FDCPA claim against them.

How do I know if what a collector is doing is considered “harassment?”

“Harassment” means different things to different people. Some examples of harassment include profanity, yelling or insulting remarks. Another example is the debt collector causing your phone to ring repeatedly just to annoy you.

Does a debt collector have to tell me who they are and disclose their company name?

Yes, they must disclose their identity. If a debt collector will not identify their company name or seems reluctant to tell you, that is a red flag that needs further investigation.

Can a debt collector threaten to sue me or garnish my wages?

A debt collector cannot threaten to take any action to attempt to get you to pay. They must intend to actually sue or garnish your wages in order to make that statement. The garnishment of wages can only occur after judgment has been granted by the courts, unless it’s a debt collected for the U.S. Government. In order to get a judgment against you, the creditor must actually file a lawsuit, serve you with the summons and complaint, and allow you the opportunity to respond.

Can a debt collector threaten me with criminal prosecution?

A debt collector cannot imply that you have committed a crime in order to abuse you and coerce you to make a payment.  They do not have the authority to prosecute you criminally.

Can a debt collector get a post-dated check from me?

A debt collector can solicit a post-dated check.  However, when doing so, they may not deposit the check early.  Also, if the check is post dated by more than 5 days, they must give you written notice of their intent to deposit the check at least 3 days before it is deposited.

Can a debt collector charge me extra fees?

A debt collector cannot charge you any extra fees beyond the debt that is owed.  While many debts collect interest as long as the balance remains unpaid, the debt collector cannot add their own costs on top of that UNLESS it is part of your agreement under the original contract, or allowed by some other law (such as a state law allowing collection fees on unpaid medical bills).

 

Call us today at (714) 617-8387 for a free consultation.

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