On September 20, 1977, the United States Congress passed one of the most important consumer protection laws. Called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the landmark legislation leveled the playing field between consumers and debt collectors.
The FDCPA clearly forbids certain practices that third party debt collectors had used for years. Third party debt collectors cannot abuse or threaten consumers into paying off debts.
Moreover, Congress also outlawed deceptive debt collection tactics, such as impersonating law enforcement and claiming to be the original creditor. The FDCPA also includes a provision that prohibits debt collector phone calls at odd hours.
When a Debt Collector is Allowed to Call You
If you choose not to send a third party debt collector a cease and desist order, the FDCPA still protects you from aggressive debt collectors by stipulating the times when a third party debt collector has the legal right to call you.
Between 8 AM and 9 PM seven days a week, a third party debt collector can try to contact you by phone. Federal regulators responsible for filling in the legal blanks of the FDCPA used the thirteen hour window because the time frame is typically considered acceptable for any type of phone call in an American household.
When the Time Comes to Contact an Attorney
Many third party debt collectors do not understand the meaning of “No.” You can remind a debt collector about the FDCPA mandated time restrictions for making debt collection phone calls, and the debt collector will still keep waking you up in the middle of the night or disturbing a peaceful breakfast with the family.
If you cannot convince a debt collector to stop calling you before 8 AM and after 9 PM, you should hire an experienced consumer protection law attorney who knows how to make the illegal phone calls stop.
Attorneys that cannot get debt collectors to stop calling take the debt collector to court by suing for statutory and actual damages.
What are Statutory and Actual Damages
The FDCPA includes a provision that defines the compensation consumers can receive for violations of the consumer protection law. Statutory damages represent the penalty handed down for violating the FDCPA. Your attorney can seek statutory damages up to $1,000.
The compensation you receive for pain and suffering-otherwise known as actual damages-does not have a monetary cap. An example of actual damages is how the disruptive phone calls in the middle of the night have adversely affected your health.
You might be eligible to receive actual damages that cover medical bills, as well as the cost of emotional counseling.
Most consumer protection attorneys subpoena phone records to confirm debt collector phone calls. However, in most cases, this violation of the FDCPA often comes down to your word and the word of the debt collector.
A persuasive attorney can help you convince the court of a debt collector’s illegal behavior. Fill out the free evaluation form to speak with a licensed consumer protection law attorney.