I always demand the $1,000 maximum statutory damages given by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 (FDCPA).
See 15 U. S. C. § 1692k(a)(2)(A) of the FDCPA.
I originally demand much more but stick to $1,000 as settlement amount.
The $1,000 maximum statutory damage amount hasn't been raised since 1977 - 35 years of inflation.
I think one could get still get 5¢ candy bars in 1977. $1,000 in 1977 was almost a year's tuition at a public university.
A debt collector can violate the FDCPA many times but the maximum statutory damages one can be awarded is $1,000. This was decided by case law - I think a better reading of the FDCPA is that there is a maximum $1,000 statutory damages for each and every violation.
These "consumer protection acts" are intended by Congress to be "liberally construed" in favor of protecting the consumer.
Debt collectors claim if Congress had intended the $1,000 limit on statutory damages to be increased for inflation they would have put a section to that effect in the FDCPA.
The answer to the debt collecors is that if Congress had intended the $1,000 limit on statutory damages to be eroded by inflation they would have put a section to that effect in the FDCPA.
As it is interpreted now in a short time the $1,000 limit on statutory damages under the FDCPA will be so minimal the FDCPA will have no teeth in it.
I don't worry about a Judge deciding the matter - it would cost my debt collector more than $1,000 in attorney fees and court costs to defend my threatened lawsuit.
I always settle and never get to a court.
Congress intended the FDCPA to be enforced by individuals bringing lawsuits for violations of the FDCPA - it's a "private attorney general act."
The incentive for attorneys to take these cases is an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs if the individuals prevail.
See 15 U. S. C. §1692k(a)(3) of the FDCPA.
The Federal Trade Comission (FTC) receives more complaints about debt collectors than any other activity the FTC regulates. The FTC has really let consumers down.
In the last 10 years the FTC brought enforcement actions against an average of 5 debt collectors a year.
The Honorable Lori Swanson, Esq. - current Minnesota Attorney General - is my hero.
See the recent articles in the Minneapolis StarTribune about a debt collector allowed in the emergency rooms of a local hospital demanding payment up front from people in immediate need of medical services. There's an article about it in today's StarTribune.
Lori's going after them.
Write your own attorney general and tell him/her about your problems with debt collectors and ask they help you like Lori Swanson does in Minnesota, and send a copy of your letter to the debt collector that's harrassing you