Many people think that hiring a lawyer is expensive. Today I’d like to explain to you how and why I am able to represent you, the consumer, for free against bullying debt collectors.
First, under the federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debt collector is required to pay my fees. In a typical lawsuit such as auto accidents each party pays its own legal fees. But under federal consumer protection laws such as the FDCPA, the defendant (debt collector) must pay for the consumer lawyer fees. That means my attorney fees are paid by the collector, never charged to you.
In addition to paying the consumer lawyer fees, debt collectors have to pay their own attorneys to defend them. Because the attorney fees are now racking up on both sides, debt collection agencies must evaluate very early if they are going to settle the case out of court.
In my experience, the debt collector decides to settle the case with you when it knows it has been caught violating the law. And there are many ways the collectors violate the FDCPA. Common examples are harassing, repeated calls, threatening action it doesn’t intend to take (wage garnishment), lying to you, leaving messages on answering machines, contacting 3rd parties about the alleged debt (neighbors, relatives) and many others.
If the debt collector is found to have violated federal law under the FDCPA, then the penalties may include:
- Statutory damages of up to $1000 for the consumer (yes, you get paid from the collector);
- Actual damages for emotional torment, pain and suffering, credit reporting damage, etc;
- Costs/fees to defend against the lawsuit – debt collectors own attorney’s fees/expenses for depositions, travel
- Consumer’s attorneys’ fees
Since the costs are so significant for the debt collector, they have to decide quickly if they want to fight the lawsuit or not. Most debt collection companies know they are guilty of violating the law and usually try to resolve the case early instead of letting the fees and costs escalate. The fee shifting to the debt collector for all legal expenses persuades them (through their wallets) to settle cases early and reasonably, which is to the benefit of our clients.
In Summary: You should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows consumers to hire lawyers who can sue debt collectors for violating the FDCPA. These lawsuits cost you nothing. The attorneys’ fees and costs are shifted, by law, to the Defendant to pay. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector. In our office, we often are able to have the debt reduced or eliminated as well.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation toll free at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com, which is filled with informative videos and advice to help consumers. Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers is here for you.