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Consumers: You Are Entitled to Damages and Penalties for Abusive Debt Collection Practices

State and federal laws, such as the California’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§1788-1788.32 (“Rosenthal Act”), as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§1692 et seq., govern the way debt collectors are permitted to go about debt collection and many debt collectors break the law.

Creditors, debt collectors, those who subsequently purchase your accounts (also known as “debt buyers”), and attorneys, who violate the Rosenthal Act and/or the FDCPA, are subject to paying damages, statutory penalties, as well as your attorneys’ fees and costs.  Unlawful practices may include unsolicited marketing messages to your cellular telephone.  According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the top three complaints by consumers are: (1) collectors hounding consumers about a debt they do not owe; (2) aggressive communication tactics used by debt collectors; and (3) taking or threatening an illegal action (e.g., threating arrest or jail, threating to seize property, threaten you with a lawsuit just to get you to pay, etc.).   A debtor collect is simply not allowed to make idle threats, express or implied (e.g., “we must get your payment no later than the day after tomorrow.”).  A copy of the CFPB Annual Report 2014 regarding the FDCPA can be found here.

If you feel you have been mistreated by a debt collector, you may have a case entitling you to damages and statutory penalties.  For more information about your rights, please call us at 619-342-8000.