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Statistics Show Two-Year High Number of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Lawsuits

November 27, 2009

A Nov. 23 report from InsideARM confirmed what our Rancho Cucamonga fair debt collection lawyers have been seeing at work: The number of lawsuits filed over unfair or abusive debt collection has gone up. According to statistics from WebRecon LLC, the number of FDCPA lawsuits filed throughout 2009 has already surpassed the number filed in all of 2008. In fact, the 6,638 lawsuits filed last year was surpassed around Nov. 1, the report said, with two full months left to go in 2009. If the trend holds, the publication suggested, observers can expect to see 8,000 or more debt collection abuse lawsuits for the whole year.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law setting strict standards for how debt collectors may behave in their dealings with consumers. In addition to prohibiting threats, lies, vulgar language and other abusive behaviors, it also sets forth certain conduct that is required, such as a requirement to verify the debt when the consumer makes that request in writing. These requirements are echoed by state laws in multiple states, including here in California. In addition to the 376 FDCPA lawsuits filed in the first half of November, the report said, those 15 days also saw three lawsuits filed under California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, three lawsuits filed under a similar statute in Pennsylvania and one each in New York, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Nevada.

The report does not give any reasons for the upswing in FDCPA filings. But as Yorba Linda abusive debt collection attorneys, we can provide plenty of anecdotes suggesting that the increase in lawsuits represents an increase in abuses. Because the economy is bad, consumers have less money to spend -- and for some, that means there's no money for paying off debt. With their profits dwindling, some debt collectors have resorted to abusive and illegal tactics designed to scare or bully consumers into paying. When they do that, many are violating the FDCPA and similar state laws. Collection agencies can often get away with this because many consumers don't realize they have rights, but as debt collectors' conduct becomes more and more outrageous, more consumers are fighting back.

Howard Law LLP is proud to represent these consumers in their attempts to hold debt collectors legally accountable for their actions. We represent people victimized by all types of collection agency abuses, including repeated calls to the incorrect person; attempts to collect on debts that are far too old; contacting someone other than the debtor and his or her spouse; abusive language; threats of violence; and lies or threats of legal action that would not actually be possible. In a FDCPA lawsuit, our Pico Rivera unfair debt collection lawyers can claim up to $1,000 for each violation of the law, as well as attorney fees, court costs and any actual financial damages, such as the cost of changing phone numbers. In addition to representing individual clients, we also handle class-action claims that bring together many victims of the same illegal and unfair conduct.

If you believe you're a victim of a collection agency that has violated the law, you should contact Howard Law to learn more about fighting back. To set up a free consultation, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us online.