Falling deep into debt is one of the most stressful events we experience during our lives. The shame of not being able to fulfill financial obligations leaves us isolated both at home and in the workplace.
Just when it seems like it cannot get any worse, you find out Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. left you a voicemail demanding payment on an outstanding credit card or personal loan account. Not only is the tone of the voicemail abusive, the bill collector threatened to file a lawsuit against you.
Fortunately, a federal consumer protection law prohibits the harassing actions taken by the debt collection agency. Written into law in response to growing consumer anger, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) forbids third party debt collectors from using abusive language and threatening consumers in any way.
Considered the ultimate consumer Bill of Rights, the FDCPA also grants consumers the right to file claims against bill collectors that have violated one or more provisions of the historically significant consumer protection law.
How Does the FDCPA Deal with Third Party contacts?
The FDCPA does not impose an outright ban on the practice of a debt collection agency contacting a third party regarding your debt. However, the federal consumer protection law does make it illegal for Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. to contact a third party and discuss your delinquent credit card or personal loan account.
The bill collector cannot insist a third party take care of the debt for you, as well as ask about how much you can afford to pay each month to settle the financial obligation. According to the FDCPA, Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. can take advantage of three exceptions for the third party provision.
First, the debt collection agency can contact a third party, if you granted the company permission to make a phone call or send a letter. Second, a third party debt collector has the right to reach out to the co-signee on a credit card or a personal loan application.
Finally, bill collectors are allowed to contact third parties in efforts to obtain consumer contact information, such as an address and a phone number.
What Happens When Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. Violates the FDCPA?
If Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. has violated the third party provision of the FDCPA, you should act with a sense of urgency by speaking with a licensed consumer protection attorney.
Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine if the actions taken by the debt collection agency warrant the filing of a claim in civil court. In the voicemail example, several courts have ruled that it is virtually impossible for a third party debt collector to leave a voicemail and not have the message heard by a third party.
Your FDCPA attorney might decide to file a claim seeking statutory damages or instead, try to negotiate the most favorable debt settlement terms.
Be proactive when it comes to dealing with an overly aggressive bill collector. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced consumer protection lawyer who has compiled an impressive record winning FDCPA cases.
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*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.