Harassed By Creditors? California and Federal Laws Have Your Back
California state and federal laws protect debtors from harassment at the hands of creditors or collection agencies.
May 24, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The endless phone calls; the letters piling up in your mailbox; the questions from your friends and family about who has been asking about you. When a creditor comes after you for a debt, collection efforts can run the gamut from merely annoying to a serious disruption of your day-to-day routine.
Fortunately, there are a range of legal protections at your disposal under both state and federal law -- but you may not know about them. Although a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney may be your best resource for dealing with creditor harassment in California, even a cursory review of your rights can put you on more solid footing when dealing with debt collectors.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Inhibits Unscrupulous Debt Collectors
There are two primary laws that protect Californians from creditor harassment: the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Both of these laws apply to debt collectors -- in other words, anyone who regularly collects debts owed to others, like collection agencies, companies that buy delinquent debts to try to collect on them and certain lawyers.
So what, exactly, do the federal FDCPA and its state law counterpart accomplish? Generally, they prohibit debt collectors from using any abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect on a debt.
For instance, debt collectors may not contact you before eight in the morning or after nine at night, unless you agree otherwise. A debt collector may not lie to you, attempt to collect additional fees or charges, or use obscene or profane language. And, debt collectors must cease contacting you after you have requested that they do so in writing (except to tell you collection efforts will stop or to inform you of some specific action, like the filing of a lawsuit).
When debt collectors do contact you, they must:
- Identify themselves
- Identify the original debtor
- Provide verification of the existence and validity of the debt when you ask for it
- Notify you of your right to dispute the alleged debt
A Lawsuit for Creditor Harassment Could Yield $1,000 Plus Damages and Legal Fees
If a creditor violates any of the rules outlined above or is otherwise unfair in the course of their dealings with you, you may have legal recourse against them. You can recover any damages you incurred as a result of creditor misconduct; but, even if you cannot prove actual damages, you may be awarded up to $1,000 plus your attorney's fees.
If you've been harassed by a creditor, keep careful records of your interactions and talk to an attorney about your right to compensation. Furthermore, if you'd like to address the financial issues underlying your debt collection problem, ask your attorney to explain the many advantages of bankruptcy.
Article provided by King & Associates
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