About statutory damages and the FDCPA
The FDCPA is referred to as a strict liability law, meaning that consumers do not need to prove any actual damages in order to sue for statutory damages of up to $1,000. It also specifies that attorney fees which are deemed as “reasonable” can be included in the award if a collection agency, collection attorney, or other type of debt collector is proven to be in violation of the FDCPA. Additionally, even though there may be no proof of any other types of damages that exist, statutory damages can still be awarded to the consumer.
The blanket definition of statutory damages
Any pre-established damages associated with legal cases wherein calculating a sum of money is deemed as being difficult are referred to as “statutory” damages. In cases involving “intellectual property” (e.g. copyright or trademark infringement), it is extremely difficult for the plaintiff and their attorney to ascertain an exact dollar amount for the infringement or violation. Typically, statutory damages are oftentimes calculated by multiplying the amount of the infringed rights use.
Prohibitions of the FDCPA laws
Where the FDCPA is concerned, there are numerous aspects of debt collection that are addressed. These issues include what the debt collector is allowed to do and what they cannot do. It is the things that the debt collector is prohibited from doing that oftentimes results in statutory damages in favor of the plaintiff. Debt collectors cannot:
- attempt to contact you by telephone at your place of employment should your boss or employer say this is unacceptable
- attempt to contact you by telephone before 8 am or after 9 pm
- attempt to have you pay an unjustified amount of money
- call you repeatedly in an attempt to converse with you
- contact you if you already have legal representation
- continue attempting to contact you when you have given them a “cease communication” request
- continue to contact you once you have made a “validation of debt” request
- deceive you as to who they are or misrepresent themselves when contacting you
- discuss your indebtedness with any 3rd party unless they are specified under [15 USC 1692c] § 805(b) of the FDCPA
- publish your address and name to a “bad debt” listing
- report false information about you to a credit reporting agency
- threaten you with being arrested or legal action taken against
- use abusive or obscene language when trying to collect the debt
For over 25 years, Jonathan Ginsberg has represented honest, hardworking men and women facing financial troubles.
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