FTC STAFF COMMENTARY ON SECTION 813:
Section 813 (A) imposes civil liability in the form of (1) actual damages, (2) discretionary penalties, and (3) costs and attorney's fees; (B) discusses relevant factors a court should consider in assessing damages; (C) exculpates a collector who maintains reasonable procedures from liability for an unintentional error; (D) permits actions to be brought in federal or state courts within one year from the violation; and (E) shields a defendant who relies on an advisory opinion of the Commission.
1. Employee liability. Since the employees of a debt collection agency are "debt collectors," they are liable for violations to the same extent as the agency.
2. Damages. The courts have awarded "actual damages" for FDCPA violations that were not just out-of-pocket expenses, but included damages for personal humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, or emotional distress.
3. Application of statute of limitation period. The section's one-year statute of limitations applies only to private lawsuits, not to actions brought by a government agency.
4. Advisory opinions. A party may act in reliance on a formal advisory opinion of the Commission pursuant to 16 CFR 1.1-1.4, without risk of civil liability. This protection does not extend to reliance on this Commentary or other informal staff interpretations.