The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to protect consumers, like you, from unscrupulous tactics by debt collection agencies and debt collectors. The FDCPA sets specific standards and guidelines for those who are collecting a debt.
For example, calls cannot be made before a certain time in the morning or after a certain time at night. Debt collectors cannot threaten you with physical harm or threaten you with lawsuits that they don’t intend to pursue.
There are strict penalties for those who violate the FDCPA and you can pursue legal action against violators. Which kind of action you take is dependent on your situation and your goals, but you may need a lawyer to sue a collection agency depending on the route you choose.
How To Sue a Collection Agency
If you don’t want to use an attorney, but you want to file a lawsuit, you can do so through small claims court. In small claims court, you will be given the opportunity to argue your own case without the help of an attorney. You file a simple court document and pay the filing fee.
This process goes rather quickly in most cases, and you go to an initial hearing before the judge. At the hearing, you will argue your case before the judge and present evidence. Sometimes, the judge issues a ruling at the hearing.
At other times, he puts the case “under submission” and issues a ruling later with the decision sent by mail. You have stringent state limits regarding how much you can legally recoup through small claims court, so make sure you check your state’s limits before using this approach.
Suing a Collection Agency in State Court
You do have the right to file a lawsuit in state court. You must prove that there were illegal practices employed and that the debt collection agency violated the FDCPA. If your lawsuit is successful, you could get $1,000 in statutory damages. If you suffered other damages because the violations caused you harm, you can request to be compensated for those as well.
Your attorney will also seek court costs and attorney’s fees. You could get the highest awards by pursuing a claim through state court. A claim is state court is more time consuming, but it results in higher rewards and could be well worth your time and effort. In this case, you need a lawyer to sue a collection agency.
Consult With An FDCPA Lawyer Before You Sue a Collection Agency
Before determining which approach is best for your specific situation and the debt collector’s FDCPA violations, you should consult with an FDCPA attorney practicing in your area. You will need to maintain documentation and evidence to support your claim, such as documentation to show the dates and times of calls, any voicemail messages, written correspondence, or notes from your office staff at work indicating you received calls from the debt collector.
An attorney will provide you with a free initial case evaluation and will recoup their costs and fees through a successful lawsuit against the debt collector. A statute of limitations does apply, so get your free case evaluation today so you can decide the best approach for your situation and whether you need a lawyer to sue a collection agency.