As Los Angeles County unfair debt collection attorneys, we were interested to see a recent article about efforts to fight collection agencies here in California. The New York Times and SFPublicPress.org reported April 22 that a group of public interest lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area is working together to help consumers fight off lawsuits by collection industry lawyers. These attorneys believe bringing unpaid debts to court at all is a misuse of the court system, particularly at a time when the courts are already clogged by high caseloads and a state-mandated shutdown. And when debt collectors sue, the advocates say, they rely on debtors to not respond, allowing them to get a court order taking wages or property without the debtor's consent.
The attorneys' efforts are focused on stopping default judgments. In lawsuits brought by debt collection lawyers, many people don't show up because they don't understand how to respond, are afraid or ashamed or truly didn't get notification. The court usually decides for the party that did show up, so the debt collector wins by default and can then get a court order garnishing wages or bank accounts. Sometimes, the debtor doesn't know anything is wrong until the money disappears. The public interest attorneys in the article believe debt collectors intentionally seek default judgments, and they are working to fight back. First, they help defend low-income people in these lawsuits, allowing defendants who owe nothing to get the claim dismissed. Then, they sue the debt collector for any violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, turning the tables and allowing clients to collect money of their own.
We're delighted to see that an organized group is helping consumers fight back. As the article notes, debt collection lawsuits have increased dramatically in California in the past three years, and between 70% and 95% of consumers never respond to those suits. As Fountain Valley debt collection abuse lawyers, we've heard many reasons for not responding to notice that a lawsuit is filed, including shame, fear and feelings that there's no real chance to dispute the case. In fact, going to court is vital, because failing to respond can get your money or property taken away by court order, even if you never owed the debt to begin with. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to prove your case and win the lawsuit, which obliges the debt collector to leave you alone. If appropriate, you can then go after the debt collector for any violations of federal or California consumer protection laws.
Howard Law PC defends individuals from lawsuits and violations of the law by overly aggressive debt collectors. Our clients are ordinary people from all walks of life who have been harassed, verbally abused, threatened or otherwise victims of legal violations by collection agencies. In fact, the FDCPA and the California version, the Rosenthal FDCPA, both give individuals many rights against debt collectors. Debt collectors may not call repeatedly, make threats they cannot carry out or reveal the debt to any third party other than a spouse or lawyer, among other things. They are also required to verify the debt in writing on request or cease communication. After a violation of these or other rules, our Chino Hills debt collection harassment attorneys can help clients sue to stop the unfair debt collection efforts. In a FDCPA lawsuit, clients can win up to $1,000 plus all attorney fees, court costs and damages for any costs the law-breaking caused.
If you believe a debt collector has targeted you unfairly or harassed you illegally, you don't have to put up with it. Call Howard Law today for a free, confidential evaluation of your case at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us online.