Reichenbach Law takes consumer cases throughout west
              central Ohio. The law office is located in Bluffton, OH.
Consumer
                protection attorney Greg Reichenbach works to protect
                consumers against unfair debt collection practices.
Call: 419-529-8300
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Contact Information

Greg Reichenbach
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 711
Perrysburg, OH 43552

Ph: 419-529-8300
Fax: 419-529-8310
greg@reichenbachlaw.com

Office hours Mon - Fri
Call for consultation

 
 
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from unfair or deceptive methods of debt collection. The law applies when a debt collector tries to collect a consumer debt. This includes attorneys who regularly engage in debt collection. The law also applies when the creditor sells a defaulted debt to an "assignee," who then tries to collect.

Here are some examples of debt collection activities that may be illegal under the FDCPA:

  • Most contacts at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8:00am or after 9:00pm
  • Most contacts to friends, family members, and employers, other than to obtain contact information for the consumer
  • Contacting the consumer at work, when the collector has reason to know that the employer does not allow such calls
  • Most contacts after the collector receives written notice from the consumer stating that he or she demands an end to the contacts or refuses to pay the debt
  • Most harassing, abusive, and oppressive conduct
  • Use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or threats of violence
  • Repeated phone calls made with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass
  • False threats of a lawsuit
  • False statements about the amount or legal status of a debt
  • False statements about affiliation with the government
  • Implying that non-payment will result in arrest or imprisonment
  • Using a false business name of the collector
  • Using a postcard to communicate with a consumer regarding a debt
  • Using language or symbols on the outside of an envelope indicating that the letter is from a debt collector
  • Bringing a suit in an inconvenient place, such as a distant location where the consumer does not live, and did not sign a contract

In the first written communication from a debt collector (and if the first communication is oral, then in that first oral communication), the collector must tell the consumer that he or she is trying to collect a debt, and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose. In all further communications, the collector must state that the communication is from a debt collector, except for formal notices related to a court case. These statements, when required, must be made clearly and effectively.

Either in the first contact, or within five days, the collector must normally send a written notice containing:

  • The amount of the debt
  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed
  • A notice that the debt will be assumed to be valid unless the consumer disputes the validity within 30 days
  • A notice that if the consumer sends a written notice to the debt collector within 30 days, disputing the debt, that the collector will verify the debt and mail a copy to the consumer
  • A notice that if the consumer requests it in writing within 30 days, the collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if it is not the same as the current creditor

Disputing a Debt
If the consumer disputes the debt or requests the name of the original creditor, in writing and within 30 days of receipt of the validation notice, then that collector must stop collection efforts until verification is mailed to the consumer.

It is important to note that just because a consumer does not dispute the debt within 30 days, this does not mean that the consumer admits that the debt is valid. If the consumer has evidence that the debt is not valid, or a counterclaim against the creditor, the consumer can still make those arguments in a court case.

If you plan to write to a debt collector, I suggest using a fax or certified mail, return receipt requested. This makes it easier to prove that the collector received your letter.

Lawsuits against Debt Collectors
In an appropriate case, consumers can sue debt collectors for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Congress wanted to encourage consumers to file appropriate cases, when the law was enacted.  If the consumer is harmed, the consumer may recover actual damages. Examples of possible recoveries include amounts for physical illness, mental illness, lost wages, and costs of getting a different phone number, if those things are caused by the illegal debt collection.  Consumers may also recover compensation for non-economic harm such as shock, worry, stress, and aggravation.

Even if there was no actual harm, consumers may recover up to $1,000.00 for violations of the FDCPA.

The FDCPA allows the consumer to recover his or her attorney fees from the collector, if the consumer was successful in the lawsuit. This is very important, because it allows attorneys to help consumers who cannot afford to pay legal fees.


Keep in mind that this is just general information about the law of debt collection. There is much more to this area of the law. If you have a specific legal problem, contact an attorney to see if she or he can represent you.


There are other laws designed to protect people from particular wrongful business practices.
Here are a few:

Lemon Law
Robocalls
Telemarketing
Illegal Faxes
Truth in Lending Act
Unfair Debt Collection (FDCPA)


Disclaimer
The information provided on this web site is provided for general information only. No attorney-client relationship is created with Mr. Reichenbach unless he specifically agrees to represent you. If you have a specific legal problem, contact an attorney.
2004-2016 Gregory Reichenbach