Before 1977, consumers had little recourse when it came to fighting back against overly aggressive debt collection tactics. From issuing threats to seize private property to calling consumers at home repeatedly throughout the day, many third party debt collectors had their way during the debt collection process. That all changed on September 20, 1977, when the United States Congress the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) into law.
According to the FDCPA, a third party debt collector such as Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates, LLC cannot threaten consumers in any way. A bill collector is prohibited from threatening to call the IRS, as well as threatening to garnish your wages.
The FDCPA also bans the once accepted debt collection practice of using deception to collect outstanding credit card and personal loan balances. One of the most frequently deceptive tactics used by bill collectors involves making false statements regarding consumer debts.
What are Considered False Statements by the FDCPA?
There are a large number of false statements a debt collection agency can make to you, but at the top of the list is the illegal practice of a third party debt collector representative claiming to be someone he or she is not. For example, you should contest the claim that an IRS agent contacted you regarding your debt.
The IRS cares only about ensuring everyone pays their federal income taxes. The agency does not care about consumer debts. Beware of someone who claims to represent a law enforcement agency. The United States has never had, and will never have, prisons that incarcerate debtors.
A False Statement Must be “Material”
Virtually every provision written into the FDCPA requires consumers to present evidence of one or more violations. That is, except for the provision that outlines the procedure for proving false statements. Not only do you have to prove a bill collector made one or more false statements.
You also have to show the false statements were “material” in influencing your ability to evaluate all of your financial options properly. For example, let’s assume Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates, LLC claimed to represent the IRS. Because of the fear you have for falling out of the good graces of the IRS, you made a personal financial decision you would have not otherwise have made.
Are You Entitled to Monetary Damages?
The FDCPA gives consumers the right to file a lawsuit in a civil court seeking monetary damages for the pain and suffering caused by physical and/or emotional duress symptoms. Referred to as actual damages, the monetary award for suffering from physical and/or emotional distress symptoms does not have a financial limit.
You might have sleepless night worrying about your financial predicament, which eventually triggers sudden outburst at work and wild mood swings at home. A licensed consumer protection lawyer who handles FDCPA cases will determine if there is enough evidence to present a compelling case for the awarding of actual damages.
Never allow a debt collection agency to get away with making false statements. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced FDCPA attorney today.
*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 Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates, LLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.