Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Lawyer Fights Debtor Harassment
Northern Jersey Attorney Provides Effective Protections Against Debt Collection Excesses
Debt collectors sometimes employ abusive means in their zeal to obtain payment. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits harassing collection methods and gives victims effective legal remedies, including the recovery of money damages. At the Law Offices of James C. Zimmerman, we help debtors in Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Sussex counties fully enforce their rights under the law.
What does the FDCPA do?
The FDCPA is a federal statute that restricts the activities of people engaged in collecting consumer debts, such as credit cards, mortgages, medical bills and personal loans. It applies to collection agencies, debt buyers and collection lawyers but generally does not apply to the original creditors with whom the debt was incurred.
The statute specifies a number of illegal debt collection practices, such as:
- Harming or threatening to harm your body, reputation or property, or that of anyone else
- Causing your telephone to ring repeatedly in order to annoy or harass you
- Calling you at inconvenient times
- Using obscene or profane language
- Calling you at work after you ask the debt collector not to do so
- Publicly claiming that you refuse to pay your debts (except in statements to credit agencies or in a lawsuit for the debt)
- Implying that if you don’t pay your debt, you may be arrested or imprisoned
- Implying that the debt collector is a government employee, law enforcement officer or attorney
- Lying about the amount or legal status of the debt or what will happen if you don’t pay
- Telling third parties, with certain exceptions, about your debt
If you believe that you might be the victim of any of these practices, we can determine if your FDCPA rights are being violated and, if so, we will take firm action to get you the relief you deserve.
What to do if a debt collector violates your FDCPA rights
If a debt collector is using harassing tactics that are making your life difficult, we can take effective steps to penalize the offender and to protect you from further harm. Once we notify the collector that we represent you in the matter, the FDCPA requires them to stop communicating with you directly. We will demand a stop to any conduct that violates the FDCPA. We can report the violations to federal or state authorities who can penalize the debt collector.
The FDCPA allows you to sue for damages resulting from violations. These include physical and emotional distress, lost wages and statutory damages of up to $1,000. You can also recover your attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing the lawsuit.
Bear in mind that none of these remedies will cancel the original debt, which the debt collector can still pursue by legal means. However, we may be able to use the debt collector’s FDCPA violations as leverage to settle your debt on terms more favorable to you, such as by reducing the amount you owe or giving you more time to pay it off.
Contact a dedicated Sussex County attorney for protection from debt collectors
If you are being victimized by the illegal actions of debt collection agencies, the Law Offices of James C. Zimmermann can help you win legal relief. For a free initial consultation to learn about your rights and remedies, call us at 973-764-1633 or contact us online. We are located in Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Hackensack and Nutley.