The crushing debt faced by consumers is spawning a growing practice niche for consumer lawyers: suing debt collectors for illegal collection practices.
Moore attorney M. Kathi Rawls said she has seen a 40-percent to 50-percent increase in clients coming to her with complaints about debt collectors over the past year.
Many times, she said, debt collectors will seek more than they are entitled to when they call a consumer or file a lawsuit.
Rawls said many consumers do not know that they have certain rights and defenses that can help reduce their debt and stop harassing phone calls.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits a wide range of conduct, including making harassing phone calls to a debtor; calling a third party, such as a family member (other than to obtain the debtor’s address); and making false threats, such as criminal prosecution or a lawsuit that the collector has no intention of filing.
In addition, a debt collector must disclose its identity to a debtor, but may not disclose its identity to a third party.
Photo by Cayusa.