If you live in California, you are protected against debtor harassment by federal and state laws. These laws include the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The best way to enforce your rights under these laws is to have an attorney in your corner.
The Fullman Firm is a leading consumer protection and credit defense practice serving clients throughout California. We know how stressful having debt problems can be, especially when debt collectors are harassing you. Although we all have an obligation to pay our bills and debts, you don’t have to put up with abuse. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
How Do I Stop Debt Collector Harassment in California?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot use abusive or deceptive tactics to collect debts. In particular, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from:
- Making repeated abusive or harassing calls to debtors
- Using obscene language
- Using threats of violence to collect a debt
- Threatening to have the debtor arrested
- Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
In addition, debt collectors are required to identify themselves and state the reason for the call. Furthermore, during the initial contact debt collectors must inform debtors of their right to dispute the debt.
If you are being harassed by a debt collector, you have a right to file a lawsuit, and the FDCPA allows you to recover damages of up to $1,000. If you can prove that you suffered emotional harm because of the harassment, you may also be awarded additional compensation.
Despite these protections, you should never go up against a debt collector alone. Contact the Fullman Firm instead. We understand the situation you are in and are highly experienced in fighting debt collector harassment.
California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Gives You Greater Protection Than Federal Law
In addition to the FDCPA, California residents are also protected by the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is known as the Rosenthal Act. The state’s version of the FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from using harassing, abusive, misleading or deceptive debt collection practices.
While the Rosenthal Act also requires debt collectors to follow the FDCPA, the state’s law goes a step further because it applies to any business that is involved in debt collection, including:
- Collection agencies
- Original creditors
- Repossession agencies
- Debt collection lawyers
If you believe a lender or debt collector has violated your rights, the Rosenthal Act allows you to file a lawsuit to recover damages of up to $1,000 and attorneys’ fees. You must act quickly, however, because you only have 1 year to pursue a lawsuit.
Finally, you should know that both the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act only apply to consumer debt that is used for personal, family or household purposes. This means that these laws do not apply to business loans.
What To Do if a Debt Collector Is Harassing You
If a debt collector has been contacting you, write down the dates and times of the calls and take note of anything he/she says. Also, make sure that the person calling is actually a debt collector and that the debt is yours. Finally, you should also keep any letters or legal documents that may be sent to you. This information will be important to have if you decide to file a lawsuit.
What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
California residents are also protected against debtor harassment by another federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This law prohibits telemarketers and debt collectors from making automated phone calls, or “robocalls,” unless you have given permission to receive these calls. You can tell if you are getting robocalls if there is a pre-recorded greeting or a long pause before someone speaks. A debt collector that violates the TCPA may be required to pay you damages of up to $500 per call.
Contact Our California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Attorney
Although you are protected against debtor harassment by the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act, credit card companies and debt collection agencies frequently don’t follow these laws. If you believe you have been subjected to debtor harassment, the Fullman Firm can help. When you work with us, we will explain all your rights and choose the best line of defense.
Depending on the circumstances, if you are awarded money in a lawsuit, it will be used to reduce the total amount of debt you owe. By pursuing a lawsuit under these laws, however, we will be in a better position to convince your creditors to negotiate a settlement. Most credit card companies and lenders would rather settle because defending a lawsuit is more costly for them.
Above all, Fullman Firm is committed to stopping debtor harassment. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.