4 Reasons You Can Sue a Debt Collector
Is a debt collector hounding you about missed payments or outstanding debt? There are certain regulations debt collectors must follow.
The Fair Debt Collection Protection Act spells out what debt collection practices are not allowed. Breaching these rules will land the debt collector in trouble. You have the right to sue a debt collector for implementing any of the following shady practices.
Tip: Create a Record of All Debt Collecting Violations
Take note every time a debt collector calls you. You should also copy all texts, emails, and letters. You may need this evidence in court later.
Stay calm no matter how often they contact you. You don’t have to give them your financial details. Experts recommend avoiding this because many debt collectors have wrongly taken excess payments from their victims over the phone.
There is no obligation for you to respond beyond asking for their identity and proof of the debt owed. Collectors that keep contacting you are building a case against themselves.
1. They Misrepresent Themselves or the Debt Owed
The collector cannot say you owe more than you do. They also cannot lie about the identity of the original creditor. Collectors are not allowed to pretend to be law enforcement.
Make sure to request information about any debt collectors contacting you. You should ask for their physical address, a call back number, and a written request for payment. You can look at a sample validation letter detailing the information you should ask for.
Make sure to request information about any debt collectors contacting you.
This forces them to disclose the original creditor and the correct total due. Make sure to date and save copies of this document. Sending a validation letter stops many scammers posing as debt collectors since they want to avoid leaving a paper trail.
2. They Pressure or Threaten You
Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten you with arrest. This should set off immediate red flags in your mind because collection agencies have no law enforcement powers. Debt is a civil issue. There are very few cases where someone will go to prison over debt.
Debt collectors are also not allowed to threaten to call your workplace or family members. They may call people you know in an attempt to find the best number to reach you at but they are not allowed to disclose the debt to shame you into paying. Some cases allow limited contact with your domestic partner or spouse. Anti-harassment rules still apply to these interactions too.
They are not allowed to use foul or obscene language either.
3. They Call After You’ve Told Them to Stop
You should send an overly persistent collector a written notice to stop calling. It is best if you send a certified letter. Certified letters give you a receipt of the time and date they received the notice.
This letter will make your case if the collector keeps calling you. Take a note of all calls after this letter.
You can also set the times that they can call you. It is within your rights to tell them not to call you while you are sleeping or working. Calling outside the hours of 9 AM to 8 PM is not allowed, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
4. They use Automated Calling Systems
Using an auto-dialler is common among debt collection agencies. This is a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Violating the TCPA carries fines up to $500 per call and damages up to $1,500 per call.
Use of automated contact is only allowed with your written consent. You have zero obligation to consent to receive any automated contact. You can also withdraw consent at any time.
If you’re not sure if a debt collector is using an auto-dialler, there are a few strong indicators you can look for. One sign is that they call you many times a day. Another sign is that no one is on the other end when you answer the call. Pre-recorded messages are a major sign they are using automated software.
Make sure to keep a record of these calls. If you can set up recording software legally on your phone, that will provide strong evidence of legal violations.
These are just a few examples of shady debt collecting violations you may experience. Take advantage of the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act to protect against yourself from predatory debt collection practices. You are within your legal rights to sue a debt collector who uses illegal tactics.