Debt Collectors Must Comply With Regulations

Are you being harassed by debt collectors? Carrying a load of debt is stressful. You may be doing your utmost to get out from under the burden of debt. When you receive threats from debt collectors it can a frightening experience. Confusing information and intimidating warnings can lead you to make the wrong decisions about allocating your budget wisely.

You have certain protections from aggressive and unscrupulous debt collectors under state and federal laws such as the Virginia Fair Debt Collection Practices and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). While these laws govern how debt collectors may collect a debt, it can be difficult to understand just what your rights are without help. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer can make the process smoother and get to a resolution sooner than later.

Attorney Hyatt Browning Shirkey spends time getting to know the circumstances our clients face. He answers calls with personalized attention and an individualized focus to provide topnotch representation for our clients. With nearly a decade of knowledge and successful case results, Mr. Shirkey can provide the legal advocacy you need if you believe debt collectors have overstepped their legal boundaries when attempting to collect a debt from you. He also provides experienced defense in the courtroom if you are facing a debt collection lawsuit.

Understanding The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The FDCPA regulates how third-party debt collectors may act when they are attempting to collect your personal debts. Consumers are protected from inconvenient, harassing, threatening, deceptive or unfair practices by debt collectors.

When a debt collector calls, they must identify themselves to you. They cannot use profanity or threaten to harm you or your reputation when they speak with you. Debt collectors must comply with many strict guidelines, including:

  • Collecting information from other people or entities — Limited to one contact to locate you, however they cannot state or imply to others that you owe a debt.
  • Communicating with you — Telephone contact is limited to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., or by telegram, mail or in person. If you have an attorney representing you for your debt, the collector must speak to your attorney. They cannot contact you after you have made a request for them to stop contacting you.
  • Harassment or abuse — A third-party debt collector is prohibited from threatening that you will be arrested for not paying your debt. They are not allowed to use threats of violence against you.
  • Misleading or false representation — The collector cannot exaggerate the amount of your debt, or indicate you have committed a crime by not paying your debt. They cannot misrepresent the status of legal documents relating to your debt.

The FDCPA provides broad protection from unfair collection practices for your personal debts. If the third-party debt collector violates the regulations, you can sue the collection agency for statutory damages, actual damages, attorney's fees and court costs. You have one year from the date of the violation to file a complaint.

What Is The Telephone Consumer Protection Act?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers with regard to telephone solicitations and "robocalls," the automatic dialing systems with prerecorded voice messages. The TCPA also applies to cell phones, fax machines and text messages. The statute also provided for the creation of a national do-not-call registry that consumers may contact to add their phone number to if they did not want to receive telephone solicitations.

Telemarketers are prohibited from calling your landline or cellphone if your phone number has been registered for 31 days, however there are exemptions that apply. If you believe you have suffered losses because of violations of the TCPA, you may act in court to sue for your monetary loss and could receive $500 in damages for each violation. If the entity responsible for the violations is found to have willfully and knowingly violated the regulations, your recovery could be more.

The TCPA governs calls to cell phones which are actionable if they are generated by automatic telephone dialing systems or have a prerecorded message without consent. If you are receiving these types of "robocalls" to your cell phone without your permission, contact attorney Hyatt Browning Shirkey.

Call Us At 540-613-8431 To Discuss Your Legal Options

Fair debt collection and telephone privacy laws are complicated. These state and federal laws exist so consumers like you would have recourse from debt collectors and telemarketers. At Hyatt Browning Shirkey Law Firm, PLC, in Roanoke, we have the knowledge and experience you need to protect your rights, including defending you against a debt collection lawsuit. Call or email us today. We provide the western district of Virginia legal representation for fair credit reporting violations and consumer protection advocacy.