Eric LaGuardia, San Diego Consumer Rights Attorney says, “Consumer rights laws require that debt collectors, and more broadly, businesses of all sizes for that matter, treat consumers fairly.”
Debt collectors and businesses are required to be honest with consumers, accurate in their representations with them, and treat them fairly. Consumer rights are often infringed upon by debt collectors. Both Federal and California statutes protect consumers from these bad practices. In California it is the Rosenthal Act. At the Federal level there is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In California, debt collectors must comply with both.
Those statutes require that debt collectors do not make any misrepresentations to debtors in their attempts to collect an alleged debt. For example, they cannot attempt to collect any amount that is not either authorized by an underlying contract or permitted by law. If they do, it violates the law.
The statutes are in place to accomplish several things; foremost, they help keep debt collectors in line, and keep them from getting out of hand, abusing consumers while they’re attempting to collect a debt.
Debt collectors may not do certain things that can also constitute harassment of a debtor and they are not allowed to threaten a debtor if the threat is an action they do not intend to take, or cannot lawfully take, against the consumer – for example, threatening to sue when the statute of limitations has run. Some other examples of harassment would be calling before a certain time of day or calling after a certain time of day, or calling an excessive number of times during a day. They’re also not allowed to contact a debtor’s employer or other third parties and discuss the debt.
The statutes include statutory damages. If a debt collector is found to have violated any of these laws in California, they would be liable to up to $1,000 under the California Rosenthal Act as well as up to $1,000 under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
One thing that is important for every consumer to know about the consumer rights statutes is that many of them provide for attorney’s fees and costs.
Consumers frequently are not in a position to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 an hour for an attorney to bring a lawsuit for their rights being violated under these statutes. These laws are written with that in mind, and require that if they’ve been violated, that the offending companies have to pay the debtor’s or the consumer’s attorney’s fees and costs for violating these statutes. This allows consumers to retain attorneys like Mr. LaGuardia to pursue claims on their behalf and hold offending companies accountable without the consumer having to pay anything out of pocket upfront.
Attorneys have to know the facts about the case. They have to talk to the prospective client before they can make a determination as to whether the consumer may have a case.
You can see more about Eric LaGuardia by visiting his website at: http://laguardialaw.com/.
Or, you may call LaGuardia Law at (619) 655-4322.