When debtors become victims of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations, there are legal remedies available to them. Although the Act is extremely technical, there are virtually hundreds of ways it can be violated. Such violations can lead to physical and emotional distress, lost wages, FDCPA violation attorney fees and associated court costs, and numerous other types of damages. Fortunately, legal remedies can help victims recover monetary damages and injunctive remedies can be implemented to stop harassing debt collectors in their tracks.
Recover Monetary Damages for FDCPA Violations
There are various monetary damages that can be recovered when a debt collector violated the FDCPA.
- Relentless telephone calls, letters of collection, and attempts to collect debts by contacting the debtor’s workplace, family and friends can cause extensive emotional distress to victims.
- Sometimes, persistent debt collection practices can result in actual physical damage to victims. Stress-related heart issues, skin rashes, migraines and other ailments can occur. When physical damages can be linked to violations of the FDCPA, victims can recover the cost of medical treatment and other associated damages.
- When FDCPA violations interfere with a debtor’s wages or wage garnishment has occurred, victims may be able to recover any lost wages and garnished funds associated with illegal debt collection activities.
- In addition to recovering damages for emotional or physical distress and lost wages, victims can sometimes collect up to $1,000 in statutory damages from the debt collector. To recover statutory damages, the victim only needs to prove that a FDCPA violation occurred- not that harm was caused.
- When the victim and his or her FDCPA violation attorney successfully prove that a FDCPA violation has occurred, the courts may order that any attorney’s fees and court costs be paid by the debt collector.
Injunctive Relief from Illegal Debt Collection Practices
The court may also order that the debt collector cease certain collections activities. This is referred to as “injunctive relief”. Activities that could be affected include things like harassing collections calls to the victim’s home, workplace or family and friends, and the sending of debt collection letters.
Third Party Remedies
When third parties are burdened with FDCPA violations like collections calls and letters, they may be entitled to damages as well. For a successful claim, third parties will need to prove that a violation occurred and that harm was suffered due to any violation(s).