A Seattle lawyer is suing Sallie Mae for harassing him with unrelenting automated collection calls. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, harassing phone calls made by bill collectors are prohibited and you have the right to take legal measures against them.
Lawyer Mark Arthur is suing Sallie Mae for at least $500 in damages for each unwanted phone call. Arthur, who had fallen behind on payments for his Seattle University School of Law loan, says Sallie Mae harassed him with dozens of calls on his cell phone, often within hours of each other. He says the calls woke him up at all hours of the night, even though the FDCPA specifically prohibits contacting consumers by telephone before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM.
“These unrelenting calls unfortunately corresponded with a time in my life that required great attention to family issues,” says Arthur. According to the suit, Arthur never gave Sallie Mae his cell phone number, and never gave his consent for the company to call him.
Arthur is seeking class action status for the suit, filed in federal district court in Seattle. The action seeks damages of $500 for each unwanted call, trebled to $1,500 because the alleged violations were knowing and willful.
Arthur provides an example of how to reprimand bill collectors and prevent further harassment through legal means. If you are experiencing harassing phone calls, you have the right to sue a debt collector in state or federal court within one year from the date of the violation. If you win, you may recover damages in the amount of any losses you suffered due to the violation, plus an additional amount of up to $1,000. In some cases you can recover court costs and attorney fees as well.
Make sure you collect evidence to support your FDCPA lawsuit. Save all forms of communication from bill collectors, record the time of phone calls and what was said, and save all answering machine messages. If it is legal to record phone conversations in your state, do so with bill collectors. Then report the debt collection agency’s inappropriate conduct to your state’s Attorney General’s office or the Federal Trade Commission.
If you think you may have a FDCPA claim, feel free to fill out the Free Claim Review form found on this website. An experienced attorney specializing in FDCPA claims will get back to you regarding your options.
For over 25 years, Jonathan Ginsberg has represented honest, hardworking men and women facing financial troubles.
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