Philadelphia Debt Collection Abuse Lawyer
Pennsylvania Debt Collection Abuse Lawyers Serving Clients throughout Philadelphia
In the aftermath of the economic crisis, many Philadelphia residents have been dealing with substantial consumer debt and difficulty making monthly payments on their bills. While some consumer debt might be a result of living beyond our means, or living beyond the amount of money we earn each month, many Philadelphians find themselves in serious debt as a result of unexpected expenses such as medical bills. Regardless of how you accumulated your debt, it is important to know that you have rights as a consumer. There are both federal and state laws that are designed to protect consumers against unfair and deceptive debt collections practices.
If you have been harassed or threatened by a debt collector, or if you have received false or misleading information from a debt collection company, it is important to learn more about your rights by speaking with a Philadelphia debt collection abuse lawyer.
Tired of debt collectors’ automatic dialers?
You may be a victim of debt collection harassment if you’ve experienced any of the following from a debt collector:
- Use of profane language
- Abusive or derogatory comments or accusations
- Demands to pay more than you owe
- Contacted you at your work when you have asked them not to
- Disguised their number so you cannot identify them on caller ID
- Neglected to disclose the statute of limitations on whether or not the debt is expired
- Contacted you directly even after you have hired an attorney and informed them of the attorney
Learning More About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Federal Protections for Consumers
The primary federal law that protects consumers in Philadelphia and across the country against abusive debt collection practices is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). What debts are covered by the FDCPA? Almost all consumer debts are covered by this federal law, including:
- Personal debts;
- Family debts;
- Household debts;
- Credit card debt;
- Auto loans;
- Medical bills; and
It is important to note that the FDCPA does not protect consumers against unfair or abusive debt collection practices resulting from debt the consumer might have incurred in order to run a small business. The FDCPA makes the following practices illegal when they are employed by debt collectors or debt collection companies in an attempt to recover debts owed by consumers:
- Harassment (including but not limited to threats of violence or harm to the consumer, repeated calling for the purposes of annoying the consumer, and the use of obscene language);
- Making false statements (including but not limited to falsely claiming that the debt collector is a lawyer or a representative of the government, claiming that the debtor committed a crime by failing to pay and could be arrested as a result, or misrepresenting the amount of money owed by a debtor); and
- Engaging in unfair practices (such as trying to collect interest that is beyond what your contract or state law stipulates, depositing a payment from a post-dated check early, and threatening to repossess your property when they cannot do so legally).
Pennsylvania’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
In addition to federal law, consumers in Philadelphia are also protected against abusive debt collection practices under state law. Specifically, the Pennsylvania Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. Section 7311) makes it “unlawful for a collector to collect any amount, including any interest, fee, charge or expense incidental to the principal obligation, unless such amount is expressly provided in the agreement creating the debt or is permitted by law.”
In other words, Pennsylvania state law also makes it illegal for debt collectors to engage in unfair or deceptive debt collection methods, including making false statements as well as attempting to coerce or intimidate debtors. To learn more about how you are protected under federal and state law, you should discuss your case with a Philadelphia debt collection abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
Harassment Stops Now
Whether you owe the original creditor or the collector money or you’ve never heard of them before, you as the consumer are entitled to interactions that are free of harassment, abuse, malicious conduct, emotional stress, and other blatant violations of collection laws.
Debt is stressful enough, but collectors know how to make it worse. Don’t let them overtake your life and happiness. Call our Philadelphia debt collection abuse lawyer now at 215-790-1800 to learn how we can help you!