A farmworker couple has won $500,000 in a lawsuit against debt collectors who harassed and threatened them, the Silicon Valley Mercury-News reported June 2. Manuel and Luz Faustos of Gonzales, south of Salinas, sued collection agency Credigy Services Corp. for numerous phone calls and mailings that threatened to ruin their credit and garnish Manuel Faustos' wages over a debt they had already paid. In a federal trial in San Jose, the couple won $500,000 in damages for Credigy's multiple violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Manuel Faustos is a 62-year-old naturalized citizen who works as a forklift operator. He and his 59-year-old wife, Luz, speak mostly Spanish. Their financial trouble began 17 years ago, when they signed up for an expensive credit card whose balance kept increasing despite regular monthly payments. They managed to pay it off with help from a debt settlement agency -- but seven years later, they got a call from Credigy. The Georgia company told Luz Faustos that they owed $17,000 on the card. Over the next two years, the company called the couple more than 90 times, threatening to take their home and savings, ruin their credit and garnish Manuel Faustos' wages. The jury in their eventual lawsuit awarded the Faustoses $100,000 in compensatory damages and $400,000 in punitive damages, payments intended to punish severe wrongdoing.
As Los Angeles County abusive debt collection attorneys, we are delighted to see such a strong blow struck in favor of victims of abusive debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids debt collectors from several of the behaviors noted in the article -- threatening legal action the collector can't actually take, seeking amounts not owed and refusing to identify themselves. In fact, the law puts substantial restrictions on debt collectors, including specifying the hours during which they can call and restrictions on the number of calls. Unfortunately, debt collection agencies routinely violate those laws because they know most consumers don't understand their rights.
At Howard Law LLP, we stand up for those rights by suing debt collectors who violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Our Murrieta debtor protection lawyers represent both individuals and large groups of people victimized by the same debt collector. Under the law, consumers subjected to inappropriate practices like calls at work, profane language and false threats have the right to sue the debt collector for $1,000 plus attorney fees and all of the costs caused by the illegal conduct (such as missed work). Like the Faustoses, plaintiffs in a Riverside debt collection harassment lawsuit can also claim punitive damages for intentional lawbreaking or egregious bad behavior.
If you're ready to stand up against debt collectors who break the law, call Howard Law today for a free, confidential consultation. You can contact us online or reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.