When creditors or debt collectors are attempting to collect a past-due debt, frequently you will receive debt collection calls and voicemails in their attempts to collect debt. There are several rules, however, that must be strictly followed if the creditor or debt collector is going to comply with both state ("FCCPA") and federal ("FDCPA") law. These requirements -- and what to look out for -- are discussed in more detail below.
Debt Collection Calls
There is no quicker or cheaper way for a creditor or debt collector to contact you and try to collect a debt that is owed than via the telephone. Today in fact, many creditor and debt collectors use technology (i.e., computers or software) to place these debt collection calls so that human beings do not have to sit around and call, hoping that you are around to answer the call and make payment. Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDS) and Predictive Telephone Dialing Systems are used to place calls repeatedly to consumers until a call is answered. This can mean that you are receiving calls dozens if not hundreds of times a month until a creditor or debt collector reaches you and secures a promise for payment.
If you have notified a creditor that you have hired LeavenLaw for representation regarding a debt owed, the creditor cannot call you in an attempt to collect that debt any more. Period. If they do, they have violated the FCCPA. You are entitled, in such circumstance, to up to $1,000.00 statutory damages, plus recovery for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the creditor. In other words, they pay you and your attorney for violating the law. If we do not recover for you, you owe us nothing.
Similarly, if you have notified a debt collector that you have hired an attorney for representation regarding your debts, the debt collector also cannot call you to collect the debt. If it does, it too is violating both the FCCPA and the FDCPA. In such case, you could be entitled to up to $2,000.00 statutory damages plus reasonable attorney fees and costs. Again, if we do not recover anything for you, you owe us nothing.
Finally, many creditors and debt collectors use an automatic telephone dialing systems ("ATDS") to call you to collect the debt. If the creditor or debt collector:
- Has notice of attorney representation regarding a debt;
- Calls your cell phone in an attempt to collect the debt;
- Uses an Automatic Telephone Dialing System,
you could be entitled to up to $1,500.00 per call. Given that an automatic telephone dialing system calls many times a day, these calls can add up....and so too can the damages. It is critical that you note, using an LDB&M Communications Log, all calls made to collect the debt. Specifically note if the call was made to your cell phone, what your cell phone number is, and why you think the call was placed using an automatic telephone dialing system. These details help us build what could be a very lucrative case for you.
If a creditor or debt collector leaves a voicemail on your answering machine or cell phone, never delete it! It is evidence that could assist you in proving a violation of consumer protection laws and getting potentially thousands of dollars in damages. Please save the voicemails (and make note of the details of when the call was received, to what phone, etc.) on the LDB&M Communications Log. Also, please note if the voicemail appears to be pre-recorded or robotic. For assistance in determining whether an automatic telephone dialing system or pre-recorded voice was used in collecting a debt, please visit the Robo-Dialed Calls website for more details and information. Then, call the LeavenLaw Consumer Law / Creditor Harassment Department and ask to speak to a paralegal or attorney to discuss your potential case.