FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FDCPA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The purpose of the FDCA is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive conduct taken by debt collection entities when collecting on consumer debt. Consumers that experience this type of conduct are eligible to receive actual damages, statutory damages and attorney’s fees and costs.
The language of the FCPA is quite specific in respect to who must comply with its provisions. Only third party collection entities are liable under the FDCPA. This includes debt collectors, debt buyers and debt collection law firms. However, original creditors attempting to collect their own debts are not subject to the FDCPA.
The Statute of Limitations for an FDCPA violation is one year from the act giving rise to the claim.
The FDCPA is so vast that even experts in the field cannot list every possible violation of the statute. There are some violations, such as calling before 8 am or after 9 pm, that are relatively straight forward. Usually however, it is not as clear since collection entities in the industry are aware of the law. A good rule of thumb is using common sense and intuition. If you feel like you are being harassed or that you’ve been treated unfairly then most likely you have! Reach out to an FDCPA attorney to see how strong your claim is. For examples of violations under the FDCPA, review FDCPA Practice Area.
The first option you have is to reach out to the collector to advise them of the violation and use this as leverage for receiving some type of benefit you are seeking. The second and better option is to find an attorney that specializes in FDCPA litigation to represent you on your claim. Because the FDCPA provides for attorney’s fees and costs, most FDCPA plaintiff attorneys will take these cases on with no upfront fees. Another option is to notify the appropriate regulatory agency about the conduct; i.e., Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s Office or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The FDCPA provides for multiple categories of damages that consumers are entitled to if their rights under the FDCPA are violated. The most attractive type of relief is statutory damages because consumers are eligible to recover up to $1,000 for any violation of the FDCPA. Other types of relief, although less common, include actual damages and emotional distress damages. Usually, consumers will receive equitable relief as well which can include forgiveness of debt, removal of a judgment or garnishment, a credit report correction or a reinstatement of a prior settlement.
FCRA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The main purpose of the FCRA is to ensure that credit bureaus and creditors are properly and accurately reporting the status of consumers’ credit information. Every consumer has the right to dispute any inaccurate information on their credit report. If a dispute does not resolve the reporting error then a consumer is able to bring legal action against the credit bureau and creditor.
Any furnisher of credit information such as an original creditor, debt buyer, loan servicer or any other entity that furnishes credit information is subject to liability under the FCRA. In addition, credit bureaus such as TransUnion, Equifax and Experian are also subject to liability under the FCRA.
The Statute of Limitations for an FCRA violation is two years from the discovery of the act giving rise to the claim.
There is an important condition precedent before taking any legal action on an FCRA claim; a consumer must first provide a notice of dispute to the credit bureau(s). The notice of dispute must explain the error in detail and provide sufficient documentary information to support the consumer’s position. Although not required, it is customary to send a courtesy copy of the dispute letter to the furnisher as well to show complete due diligence. The credit reporting error must be corrected within thirty (30) days from the credit bureau’s receipt of the dispute. If it is not, then and only then can a lawsuit be filed against the credit bureau and/or the furnisher of the inaccurate information.
Any inaccurate information that is present in a consumer’s credit report and is not timely corrected after a dispute is sent can be the basis of an FCRA claim. The most common violations include accounts in credit reports that were never opened, outdated or incorrect statuses of accounts, inaccurate imbalances on accounts or tradelines showing delinquencies in payment that never occurred.
The FCRA provides for multiple categories of damages that consumers are entitled to if their rights under the FCRA are violated. These damages include statutory, actual, punitive and emotional distress damages. Usually, consumers will receive equitable relief as well which can include a credit report correction or a complete deletion of a negative tradeline. In addition, because the FCRA provides for attorney’s fees and costs, most FCRA plaintiff attorneys will take these cases on with no upfront fees.
TCPA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The TCPA protects consumers from unwanted automated and prerecorded calls aka “robocalls.” If these robocalls are made without the consent of the consumer then they are illegal and the consumer is entitled to statutory and actual damages.
Each prohibited call entitles the consumer to $500 in statutory damages. If that call is determined to be willful, then the damages are tripled and each call is worth $1,500 in statutory damages.
Any business entity that uses an automatic telephone dialing system to initiate calls to consumers without their consent is subject to the TCPA. However, there are certain exceptions when these types of robocalls are permissible including emergency calls, federal student loan collection calls, purely informational calls made to residential lines as well as a few others.
The Statute of Limitations for a TCPA violation is four years from the act giving rise to the claim.
Consent can be easily revoked either in writing or through a verbal request. If possible, it is always best to revoke consent using a method that records the communication, such as an email or text message. If that’s not possible, the business entity can always be asked to provide a confirmation letter of the revocation.
If you believe you have a TCPA claim, the best course of action is to find an attorney that specializes in TCPA litigation to represent you. Because the potential award or settlement for TCPA violations are quite high compared to similar consumer protection statutes, most TCPA plaintiff attorneys will take these cases on a contingency basis.