Can I Sue a Collection Agency for Harassment or Abuse?

In many cases you can sue a collection agency for harassment, abuse, or deception. Collection agencies are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which prohibits abusive or harassing actions when collecting a debt. Most states also have similar prohibitions under which you can also sue.

The reasons for which you can sue a collection agency can vary. For example, under the FDCPA a collection agency that calls you too often, too early in the morning, or too late at night can be held legally responsible for those calls. You can also sue a collection agency for making false threats against you. In other words, if a debt collector does not intend to sue you it cannot threaten to sue you. The collection agency also cannot threaten to garnish your wages unless it has already obtained a judgment against you. Threatening to have you criminally prosecuted is also an actionable violation.

Other actions can also violate the FDCPA. For example, a collection agency cannot sue you for a debt that is outside the statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary according to state law and the manner in which the debt was incurred. A collection agency also cannot collect a debt that is fully paid, falsely claim it is not a debt collector, or sue you in an improper venue.

Under the FDCPA you can sue a collection agency if it has taken any of the above acts or taken any other abusive action against you. Proceed carefully however because there are many tricks and traps under the FDCPA that can quickly cause you to lose your case. Consult with a consumer rights protection attorney for best results. A good one will know how to handle any pitfalls in your case and will help you on a contingency basis so you won’t have to pay any attorney’s fees unless you win your case.



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