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Illegal Actions by Debt Collectors Top List of Consumer Complaints to State Regulators

September 3, 2009

State attorneys general say complaints about debt collectors were the most common complaints they heard in 2008, the National Association of Attorneys General said Aug. 31 in a press release. The group is composed of the top prosecutor for each state (such as Attorney General Jerry Brown here in California); their agencies are also in charge of enforcing consumer protection laws in their states. In a survey of members, NAAG found that consumers' most common complaint in 2008 was again about debt collectors, continuing a trend from 2007's survey. In what NAAG called a sign of the times, complaints about credit cards and predatory mortgage lending made the top ten for the first time.

The release comes on the heels of news that debt collection lawsuits are skyrocketing. According to an Aug. 14 article on Credit.com, a Web site about consumer credit issues, the number of lawsuits filed under two major federal consumer credit protection laws are on track to set a new record, with more than 8,500 lawsuits predicted by the end of 2009. One of the laws in question is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which specifies how credit reporting companies may share consumer credit information and resolve disputes. The other is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which strictly regulates how debt collection agencies may collect debts. Both laws allow consumers to sue over violations of their requirements, making them powerful consumer protection laws.

Our Irvine fair debt collection attorneys have also seen a sharp increase in the number of clients coming to us about violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. We believe the bad economy is part of the reason -- because it drives bad behavior by collection agencies. When times are tough, fewer people can afford to pay off their debts, and debt collectors respond by getting even more aggressive. Unfortunately for them, the FDCPA bans a variety of aggressive debt collection practices, including continuous phone calls; threats to imprison or bankrupt the victim; abusive or profane language; and attempts to embarrass victims in front of neighbors or co-workers.

Howard Law LLP helps consumers who are victims of violations of the FDCPA (and the similar California state law) stand up for their rights. In a FDCPA lawsuit, victims can claim back all of the financial costs caused by the harassment, including legal fees, as well as $1,000 for every violation of the law. In our experience as Escondido debt collection abuse lawyers, these violations are routine practices in the debt collection industry, despite the laws against them. Debt collection agencies rely on consumers' lack of understanding of their own rights to protect them from litigation and criminal penalties. Our Lynwood debtors' rights attorneys can stop the harassment, explain your rights and make sure you get the maximum settlement to which you are entitled.

If you're frustrated by rude, illegal or unethical behavior by a debt collector and you're ready to explore your legal options, you should call Howard Law right away. To set p a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.