Deciding to sue debt collectors can help you assert your rights against an overly-aggressive debt collector. Debt collectors routinely violate debtor rights that are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Sometimes suing them is the only way to enforce your rights, especially if you have been illegally harassed or threatened by a collection agency.
Federal law provides for $1,000 in damages to be paid to the debtor whenever their rights are violated by a collection agency. In some cases, debtors facing harassment from multiple debtors can receive multiple awards. These types of victories can be especially valuable to a debtor who is also struggling to cover household expenses and has no money left each month to put towards old debt.
While we cannot advise for or against hiring an attorney, you should at least be aware that federal law provides that the debt collector may also have to pay for your legal representation. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to pursue a case if your attorney advises that you do so.
Trying to research how to sue debt collectors on your own can be a bit overwhelming. There are some attorneys that have become quite successful pursuing these FDCPA cases. Some people claim that these attorneys are simply taking advantage of a system that pays them thousands of dollars in legal fees while awarding only up to $1,000 to the victim.
One of the most prominent FDCPA attorneys to address this fact is Sergei Lemberg, who rebutted the findings of the Denver Post in a February 2011 story. He claims that the problem is not the attorneys that are specializing in this area of law. Instead, he cites a federal cap of $1,000 in damages, a number that has not changed since 1977.
Lemberg is one of several attorneys that have handled the bulk of FDCPA cases over the years. Attorneys Daniel A. Edelman, Craig T. Kimmel, Daniel S. Blinn, J. Philip Bott, Andrew I. Glenn, Lara R. Shapiro, James Pacitti and John T. Steinkamp have also been very active with FDCPA cases recently.
Of course the volume of cases filed does not necessarily indicate how competent an attorney is. Still, you may find that your family attorney may be rather inexperienced in this field, so it is important to ask for evidence of previous awards before choosing an attorney.
You can fight a debt collector without hiring an attorney. Just be aware that the debt collector will likely send their attorney to face you, which could be intimidating if you have little or no legal background.
As with any legal action, there may be risks and costs involved. Therefore, you should consider seeking competent legal advice from a licensed attorney if you are unsure of how to proceed. Debtors Unite, Inc. is not a law firm, and no part of this website should be misconstrued as legal advice. Instead, our purpose is to inform debtors about abusive practices and to provide debt help to consumers.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
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