If you are struggling with debt, you may have encountered some aggressive or shady tactics from debt collectors. They may call you repeatedly, threaten you with legal action, or even add fees or charges to your debt that you never agreed to pay. These practices are not only annoying and stressful, but they may also be illegal. If you believe a debt collector has recently tried to get you to pay certain unauthorized or illegal fees or charges, there is a good chance they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and you need a competent New York City debt collection harassment lawyer in your corner. Read on and reach out to Rahman Legal for more information. Here are some of the questions you may have:
Can I sue a debt collector for pursuing unauthorized or illegal fees or charges?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices by debt collectors. It applies to credit card debt, car loans, medical bills, student loans, mortgages, and other household debts. That said, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from doing the following:
- Trying to collect charges in addition to the debt unless they are allowed by the contract or state law. Common examples of unauthorized fees or charges include pay-to-pay or convenience fees, and in certain cases, interest fees, late fees, or collection costs
- Depositing a post-dated check early
- Communicating with you about a debt by postcard
- Using any language or symbol on an envelope for correspondence with you (other than its address) that indicates it is a debt collector
- Misrepresenting the debt, including the amount owed
- Falsely claiming that the person contacting you is an attorney
- Threatening to have you arrested
- Threatening to do things that cannot legally be done, or threats to do things that the debt collector has no intention of doing
- Harassing you with excessive phone calls, abusive language, or false statements
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you have the right to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or your state’s attorney general. You can also sue the debt collector in a state or federal court within one year of the violation. You can sue for damages that happened because the collector broke the law — expenses like lost wages or medical bills, or compensation for the effect the debt collector’s actions had on your job or your health. You can also sue for statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation, even if you cannot prove actual harm. If you win your case, the debt collector must also pay your attorney’s fees and court costs.
Suing a debt collector can be a powerful way to stop harassment and recover your losses. However, it is not an easy process and it may not eliminate your debt. You will need to gather evidence of the violation, such as letters, emails, text messages, phone records, or recordings of conversations. You will also need a lawyer experienced in consumer law who can prepare you to face the debt collector in court and possibly deal with counterclaims or defenses. Fortunately, you are in the right place.
If you are considering suing a debt collector for unauthorized fees or charges, you should consult with an experienced consumer lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you evaluate your options, protect your rights, and pursue your claim effectively. At Rahman Legal, we have helped many clients fight back against abusive debt collectors and recover what they deserve. Contact us today so we can get started fighting for the justice you deserve.