Consumer Protection Lawyer | Charles Pascal Cohen Attorneys at Law
Our consumer rights law practice assists clients experiencing problems with debt harassment and unlawful telephone calls. Contact us now for a free consultation!
Our Consumer Protection practice assists clients experiencing problems with debt, credit, financing, fraud, harassment and unlawful telephone calls, as a result of abuse, misconduct, and unfair business practices. We sue debt collectors, creditors, lenders, collection agencies, collection law firms, marketing agencies and other similar entities, and defend our clients from the same, under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Victims of Debt Collector abuse can recover compensation from debt collectors, in addition to all their legal fees and costs.
You may recover up to $1000 in statutory damages and possibly more for actual damages if a debt collector violates your rights by :
- Threatening you with a lawsuit or other legal action.
- Calling your workplace or disclosing your debt to any unauthorized third party.
- Placing excessive, harassing, abusive, or threatening phone calls.
- Calling at inconvenient times, for example before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Contacting you after you have requested that they cease all further communication.
- Sending threatening or abusive letters.
- Leaving a message about your debt with anyone that is not you or leaving a voice message that could be overheard by someone else.
- Failing to remove a disputed or paid debt from your credit report. (see a sample dispute letter here; receive a free copy of your credit report here)
- Threatening to destroy your credit.
- Contacting you while you are represented by an attorney.
- Failing to warn you that the communication is from a debt collector and that any information obtained will be used to collect a debt.
- Attempting to collect debts that are too old.
- Attempting to collect non-existent debts.
- Attempting to collect an illegal payday loan.
Abuse, Harassment & Unfair Practices
Abuse and Harassment - Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from abusing; harassing; oppressing; threatening violence or other criminal harm; or using profane or abusive language in connection with alleged debt.
Embarrassment - Under federal law, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in conduct to disgrace consumers in connection with an alleged debt. Debt collectors are also prohibited from embarrassing consumers. For example, debt collectors may not embarrass a consumer by publishing their name or information, alleging that the consumer refused to pay alleged debt, or advertising the sale of alleged debt.
Telephone Calls - Under Federal law, debt collectors are prohibited from making repeated telephone calls to any person in connection with an alleged debt. Additionally, collection agencies are prohibited from calling at inconvenient times.
Unconscionable Conduct - Debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in unfair or unconscionable conduct to collect a debt.
Repossession of Property - Debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to or actually unlawfully repossessing or disabling a consumer’s property.
False & Misleading Communication
False Communication - Debt collectors such as collection agencies and similar entities are prohibited from using false, deceptive, or misleading representation in connection with collecting an alleged debt. Additionally, a debt collector may not state that nonpayment of an alleged debt will result in arrest, a lawsuit, the seizure of property, or wage garnishment, unless they actually intend to do so, and where it is not illegal to take such action.
Communicating False Information - A debt collector may not communicate false credit information or threaten to communicate false credit information.
Amount of Debt - Debt collectors may not misrepresent the amount of an alleged debt, or the legal status of the debt.
False Affiliations - Debt collectors may not imply false affiliation with the U.S. government, an attorney’s office, or a consumer reporting agency. Additionally, a debt collector may not falsely represent that any document associated with the alleged debt was authorized by the government.
Mandatory Miranda Warning - When communicating with a consumer, a debt collector must give a “Miranda Warning” - or state that the entity is a "debt collector, and that any information obtained would be used for debt collection purposes."
Prohibited Contact & Communication
Inappropriate Hour or Place - A debt collector may not contact a consumer at inappropriate hours or at inappropriate places.
Attorney Representation - A debt collector may not contact a consumer directly regarding an alleged debt if it has reason to believe that the consumer is represented by an Attorney.
Cease and Desist Letter - A debt collector may not contact a consumer after it has received a “Cease and Desist” letter from the consumer.
Third Party Communication - A debt collector may not communicate with any unauthorized 3rd party in an attempt to collect a debt.
Workplace Contact - A debt collector may not contact a consumer at work if it has reason to believe that the consumer cannot be contacted there.
Revealing language - A debt collector may not use language or symbols on a communication with a consumer which indicates that the communication is from a debt collector.
Postcard - A debt collector may not communicate with a consumer by postcard.
Design of Form or Letter - A debt collector is prohibited from designing a form or letter, in such a way that the consumer believes that she is not in contact with a creditor.
A debt collector must disclose the dispute of an alleged debt, and is prohibited from applying any payment remitted to a disputed debt where the consumer has multiple debts.
A debt collector may not attempt to collect any amount that is not expressly authorized by agreement or permitted by law.
Three (3) day notice of intent to deposit check - Under federal law, debt collectors are prohibited from accepting and soliciting a check in connection with an alleged debt that is postdated by more than 5 days without 3 business days written notice of intent to deposit said check.
Accepting check for purposes of criminal prosecution - Debt collectors are prohibited from accepting and soliciting a postdated check from a consumer for the purpose of threatening criminal prosecution.
Early deposit of post dated check - Debt collectors are prohibited from depositing or threatening to deposit a post-dated check prior to the date on the check.
Under federal law, a consumer may request a validation notice of an alleged debt.
This validation notice must comply with the law, or it will be deemed invalid or improper notice.
A proper validation notice must:
- be sent within five (5) business days of the debt collector's initial contact with the consumer;
- contain the amount of the alleged debt;
- state the name of creditor to whom the debt was allegedly owed;
- state that the debt collector will provide the name and address of the original creditor.
- state that the consumer has the right to dispute the alleged debt within thirty (30) days; and
- state the consumer’s right to have verification judgment mailed to the consumer.
A debt collector is prohibited from contacting a consumer regarding an alleged debt after failing to validate or properly validate the alleged debt.
Third Party Contact
Identification of debt collector - Under Federal law, when communicating with a third party, a debt collector must identify itself and limit its communication to confirming or correcting location information.
Repeated contact - A debt collector is prohibited from contacting a third party more than once, without permission.
Attorney representation - A debt collector is prohibited from contacting a third party, if it has reason to believe that the consumer is represented by an attorney.
Disclosure to a third party - Under Federal law, when communicating with a third party, a debt collector is prohibited from disclosing that the consumer owes a debt.
Robo-Calls & Text Messages without consent (TCPA)
Federal law prohibits automated calls to your cell phone.
You may be entitled to compensation if you receive:
- "Robo-calls", or automated messages and voicemails to your cellphone without your consent; or
- Sales and marketing texts sent to your cell phone without your consent.