The good news there is something you can do to stop these calls. Calls from banks, creditors, debt collectors and companies trying to sell you sometime are often illegal. Congress has passed laws recently to stop these harassing tactics. But, you need to know your rights. At Lindh Foster LLC we turn the tables on these scoundrels. We specialize in helping our client’s stop these unwanted calls and often we can ever sue solicitors and others for violating your rights. We also working with individuals and families to provide information and strategies to resolve their debt issues with the best possible outcome in mind.
One federal law that protect consumers from debt collectors and their harassing telephone calls and other unscrupulous debt collectors tactics is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Another newer law which more broadly applies to for-profit telephone solicitors as well as your bank and your creditors is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). While originally aimed at stopping companies from bombarding consumers with so-called “junk faxes” and pre-recorded or computer assisted solicitation calls and messages, the TCPA also place important additional limitations on what debt collectors and your creditors are allowed to do when attempting to collect on a pass due debt.
So, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act defines what are unacceptable telephone practices by companies that do not have a pre-existing business relationship with you as well as calls from any company with which you have not given express permission to call your cell phone. It even prohibits certain so-called autodialer calls to your home or cell phone. These are those annoying calls you answer where there is a long pause while you are connected to a live person on their side or they automatically hang up if the call goes to your voicemail. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, on the other hand, only applies to debt collectors and other agents of creditors. However, the FDCPA prohibits a broader range of aggressive or harassing practices including threatening letters and repetitive calls to your home or cell phone. Also some states, like Connecticut, have enacted laws based on the FDCPA that apply similar restriction on bank and other creditors that engage in abusive collection practices.
Here are some common questions we get from our clients.
Are unsolicited automated calls or pre-recorded messages left on my cell phone legal?
No. Not if you don’t have a pre-existing business relationship. And even if you have a pre-existing business relationship (i.e like with your bank or credit card company), if you have revoked your consent such calls are still illegal. thhave not given the they are initiated by an automated dialing system and you have not given your permission to be contacted in this manner.
What about automated text messages to my cell phone?
They are also prohibited under the TCPA.
Can I receive compensation from debt collectors who violate these rules?
You may be entitled to compensation of $500 or more for each violation.
Does federal law prohibit unfair or abusive collection practices?
Yes. The FDCPA prohibits certain specific collection practices. It also creates certain obligations on debt collectors including proving proof that you owe a debt when asked and ceasing certain contact when requested by the debtor.
Can debt collectors call me at any time?
No, calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. are prohibited.
Can they ring my phone continually just to annoy me?
No, repeated phone calls each day (generally 6 or more) intended to annoy or harass you are also prohibited.
Can they call or contact me at work?
No, they may not contact you at work if you tell them not to do so.
Does the debt collector have to prove I owe the debt?
Yes, any debt collector must provide you with a written “validation notice” within five days after they first contact you stating the amount of debt owed, the name of the creditor and how to dispute the debt if you believe it is not accurate.
How can an attorney help?
Once the collector is informed that the debtor is represented by an attorney, the debt collector must only contact your attorney and they may no longer contact or harass you regarding a collection matter. This right alone can offer immediate relief from continuing contact from debt collectors whether or not they are violating any of these federal laws. Your attorney can also help you initiate legal action if your rights have been violated and provide a strong voice in negotiation to settle the debt in the event you are sued or threatened with a collection action.
Here to Help!
Please feel free to contact attorney Eric Foster at Lindh Foster LLC for a free initial consultation if you feel your rights under the FDCPA or the TCPA have been violated or if you just have questions about consumer’s right in connection with unsolicited or harassing telephone calls regardless of whether such calls are from an unknown solicitor or a debt collectors. We are also glad to offer you assistance or recommend a local attorney in your area.
For further information or to schedule a meeting at our offices, please contact:
This informational blog post was brought to you by Attorney Eric L. Foster, an experienced Hartford County, Connecticut Consumer Credit Lawyer.