Protecting homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the key components of the CARES act. For Oregonians who have fallen behind, or are struggling to keep afloat with their mortgage payments, this is an important article from the Consumer Finance Organization on some of the protections homeowners have. Read full article here: How to help homeowners protect their homes >
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Understanding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
What is the FDCPA?
- FDCPA stands for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – 15 U.S.C. § 1692,
- The FDCPA is a Federal Regulatory Scheme designed to limit abusive collection practices passed in the late 70s,
- The FDCPA is a per se liability statute, meaning there is no requirement to prove willfulness,
- An FDCPA violation is like a speeding ticket, if you speed, you pay the fine – but only if you’re caught.
Who does the FDCPA apply to?
- A Consumer is someone who is not a business and incurred a debt for a personal, family or household reason (This can be a house, car, credit card for normal living expenses, ect.).
B) Debt Collectors
- A Debt Collector is someone who seeks to collect a debt originated by someone else (Suttel & Hammer, Zwicker & Associates, RCO Legal, ect.) – This law does not cover the original creditor/lender (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Sears, ect.).
- What types of behavior violate the FDCPA?
- Are collection companies leaving voicemail messages for collection? (Voicemail can be revealed to third parties inadvertently).
- Does the collector call often (more than once a day?) (Collection contacts must be conducted in a reasonable manor, between 8 am and 9pm).
- Any collection calls received at work? (A big no no).
- Did the collector begin mailing notices and was any written response sent? If so what did the response say? (If the debtor wrote a dispute letter to the creditor and it was ignored, this is actionable).
- Did a collector call and fail to identify themselves or the company they work for or otherwise not indicate they were calling to collect a debt? (The collector must always identify the company they work for and advise regarding their purpose).
- Has the collector contacted any person other than the Debtor? If so what did they tell that other person? (It is illegal for a collector to inform any other party besides the debtor that the debtor owes a debt and may only request location information).
If your creditors showed any of these behavior, they may be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Contact our Oregon bankruptcy law firm today to take legal action.
Foreclosure Cases – Actionable under the FDCPA
- Did a new servicer on a mortgage take over after missed payments?
- Did the new servicer fail to review or otherwise ignore letters regarding Loan Modification (This is a RESPA case).
- Did the New Servicer send letters or documents when the old servicer knew of attorney representation?
If you answered yes to any of these, call our Portland foreclosure defense attorney today to find out how you can keep your home.
Proving the Case
- FDCPA violations are all about proof.
- The best way to prove improper collection contacts is to keep a phone log listing time, date and phone number that called. This will help if we need to pull a phone bill and will assist later in testimony before a judge or jury.
- If you sent the collection company a letter, we need a copy and better yet a certified mailing notice, to prove it was delivered to the creditor.
- Keep all voicemails.
What happens next?
- The attorney will help put together a cause of action and get the calls to stop
- A lawsuit will need to be filed to bring the collectors behavior to the attention of the Court.
- We can recover some damages through the lawsuit.
- The attorney works on a contingent basis.
- Don’t let collectors walk all over you, call us today to take back your phone and your rights!
Our Oregon Attorneys are here to help!