Your Rights as a Consumer

FDCPA Violations

When Mr. Trammel called Lilian Creszko he violated several subsections of what is known as the “FDCPA,” or Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

The FDCPA protects individuals with consumer debt from being harassed, threatened, or intimidated by third party debt collectors. It also protects consumers from collection efforts for amounts that are not actually owed. These are the opening words of the Act: There is abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors. Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.

In general, third party debt collectors cannot:

  • Use deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt
  • Threaten to garnish or take property without explaining the full judicial procedure that must first be followed
  • Call a consumer repeatedly with the intention to harass or intimidate
  • Call at unusual hours
  • Threaten to take any action that cannot legally be taken
  • Use threats, obscene or profane language

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  • Falsely represent that a debt is owed, or misstate the amount owing
  • Imply that a crime has been committed, or suggest that a warrant could be issued, or arrest made if the consumer fails to pay
  • Call friends or family members of the consumer and discuss the debt, or call at work if they have reason to believe that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication

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To view the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act in its entirety, click here

Mr. Trammel called Lillian repeatedly with the intent to annoy or harass. He tried to collect a debt that Lillian said had already been paid. He made derogatory comments about the fact that she was a loser and should take responsibility with the intent to disgrace her. He threatened her with garnishment, an action he could not legally take. An individual cannot be garnished for monies owed unless a lawsuit has been filed against them and a judgment obtained from the court that gives the right to garnish. He implied she would incur criminal penalties. Debt collection and the owing of money, is a civil, not a criminal matter. He contacted her grandmother to discuss the debt. He got her bank account information through deceptive means.

Each violation makes a stronger case. But this would be a good case even if several actions had not been taken by Mr. Trammel. Even if Lillian had never paid the debt and still owed every cent, the actions Mr. Trammel took to collect would have been violations of the FDCPA. Even if he had not called her grandmother, or implied criminal prosecution, his actions would still be violations, and illegal.

Depending on the frequency and severity of violations, consumers can win settlements that vary in size, potentially handle the underlying debt, and pay all attorney fees. And, by taking appropriate action, consumers who have been harassed can help stop third party debt collectors from exploiting and harassing others.

Find out what you need to do to stop the calls and file an FDCPA claim

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