Debt collectors who violate collection laws often do so systematically and injure many people. At Morrison + Murff, we represent classes of debtors who have been wronged. Aggressive debt collectors add to the enormous stress you may already feel when facing debts large debts. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, know that you have rights.
At Morrison + Murff, our attorneys sue collections agencies. We represent clients throughout Utah in Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) claims and other debt and collection law matters. Our attorneys are committed to defending clients against harassment from creditors.
What are the most common FDCPA Violations?
If you believe a creditor has taken any of the following actions, contact us today for a free case review. Some of the most common FDCPA violations include:
- Call you before 8am.
- Call you after 9pm.
- Call you at work more than once.
- Call third parties (the only person debt collectors can contact on multiple occasions apart from you is your spouse if you have one) more than once to try to locate you.
- Tell anyone else (apart from your spouse) that the collector is trying to collect a debt from you.
- Contact you after you have written to the debt collector and asked them not to contact you (there are more effective ways of doing this than merely sending a letter – for more information contact Kazerouni Law Group, APC today).
- Try and collect on a debt that is not valid [you would be surprised to know that this happens very frequently – usually the alleged debtor never owed the money or had settled the debt a long time ago and the debt collector is trying to double dip].
- Debt collectors cannot lie to you or use deceptive methods in trying to collect a debt (this is very vague and can be a great tool for you).
- Leave a message on an answering machine without saying that the collector is trying to collect a debt; he must leave his name and his company.
- Sue or even threaten to sue on a debt that you have not made a payment on for more than four or six years depending on the type of debt (UT – other states differ).
- Say or imply anything about arrest, going to jail, or the like.
- Threaten to sue you when the collector has no intention of doing so [this usually happens when you have been given a deadline to do something (usually make a payment) and if the deadline goes and they have not sued you, that is a violation].
- Threaten to garnish your wages without explaining that first the creditor must file suit and get a judgment.
- Say or imply anything about taking cars, furniture, or any other property and putting liens against your property – again a debt collector has to first sue you and obtain a judgment against you before it can do this.
- Sue you on the debt except a) where you live now or b) where you entered into the debt agreement.
- Embarrass you by saying things like: "You are a deadbeat; why don't you pay your bills; you are a disgrace; why don't you get rid of your spending spouse." Things like that.
- Use profane or other abusive language.
- Shout, scream, or get angry with you.
- Give the impression that the caller or his company has some connection with the government, the courts, the police, other law enforcement, etc.
- Try to collect the wrong amount: add small fees, for instance.
- Threaten to deposit a post-dated check, particularly when the collector knows you do not have the money to cover the check. Typical situation: "Give us a check to stop the calls and we will hold it." The perfect response to this should be: "The check is in the mail."
- Call you repeatedly. A call a week is OK. More than one call a week is harassment. Certainly more than one call in the same day is an abuse, particularly if you hang up and the collector calls right back.
- Call you or anyone else (looking for you), after the collector knows you have an attorney.
- Ask you to pay more than you owe.
- Ask you to pay interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law.
- Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient.
- Use or threaten to use violence if you don't pay the debt.
- Threaten action they cannot or will not take – an example of this is when the statute of limitations has passed and they threaten you with a lawsuit when that it is not a remedy to the collector at law.
- Even if you have experienced some type of harassment not listed here, there is a chance you still have a claim. Our lawyers know the law and we can determine whether you have a viable case.
What is the penalty for violating the FDCPA?
You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date of the offense. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can’t prove that you suffered actual damages. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs. A group of people also may sue a debt collector as part of a class action lawsuit and recover money for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector’s net worth, whichever amount is lower. Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away if you owe it.
If you believe a creditor has taken any of these actions, contact us today for a free review.
There are no up front fees or costs to you unless we win. We take most cases on a contingency, so you do not pay at all unless we win. If you have suffered from abusive debt collection practices don't delay, call Morrison + Murff at 801-392-9324 or email us today.