New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorneys

50 Reasons to Sue your Debt Collector under Federal Law

The below is a list of 50 clear violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.[1] Most of these are in the collection-litigation landscape.

This list was first inspired by only one provision—FDCPA § 1692e(10)[2]—a “catch-all” provision that penalizes deceptive “means” to collect debts. But I tossed in other violations of a similar nature, which are mostly encompassed within FDCPA § 1692e (“False or misleading representations").

  1. Threatening a lawsuit or filing a lawsuit on a time-barred debt (too old)
  2. Misrepresenting the collector’s legal rights (i.e. a right to communicate with third parties, or a right to execute on a judgement without one having been entered)
  3. Continuing efforts to collect on a claim that the collector knew was not valid
  4. Misrepresenting the urgency or imminence of a collection lawsuit
  5. Threatening suit in absence of an assignment or ownership of the debt
  6. Misrepresenting a creditor’s authority to sue
  7. Attaching self-created account statements to a collection complaint as if they were generated by the originating creditor[3]
  8. Falsely threatening to report the consumer’s debt to third parties, such as consumer’s employer or credit-reporting agency
  9. Misrepresenting credit-repair issues in the context of payment relating to credit scores, late payments, and old accounts
  10. Misrepresenting the expiration of the right to dispute a debt
  11. Demanding a full balance of an installment contract in the absence of an acceleration clause
  12. Using false or fictitious names
  13. Creating a false sense of urgency as to the timing of a reply
  14. Misrepresenting that the collector only as the authority to accept payment in full
  15. Falsely implying that the collector is providing legal advice to the creditor
  16. Threatening to take legal action that would amount to the unauthorized practice of law
  17. Contradicting or confusing the consumer’s debt-verification rights
  18. Compelling payment through Western Union or Overnight mail
  19. Falsely implying a connection to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  20. Deterring the consumer from answering a complaint or from seeking legal advice
  21. Misrepresenting the number and type of collection-agency employees (for example, claiming to have “detectives” or an “investigative division”)
  22. Misrepresenting the consumer’s obligations by threatening to collect fees or charges not owed by the consumer
  23. Unlicensed debt collection. In New York City, you can search it here
  24. Knowingly engaging in or profiting in sewer service
  25. Implying, or using documents that falsely imply, that a default judgment was already entered
  26. Misrepresenting the identity of the creditor or whom to pay
  27. Bringing the collection lawsuit outside the statute of limitations
  28. Bringing a lawsuit without any intention of meeting the burden of proof
  29. Falsely attesting to personal knowledge of a creditor’s business records
  30. Pursuing a collection lawsuit, or selling the alleged debt, knowing that the wrong party was targeted for the debt
  31. Suing on a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy
  32. Seeking pre-judgment interest that is not allowable under state law
  33. Suing twice for the same debt
  34. Taking action on a breached settlement agreement without sending a notice to cure required in a settlement agreement
  35. Falsely implying a previous award of attorneys’ fees
  36. Seeking the collection of debt covered by third parties, for example Worker’s Compensation relating to a covered medical debt
  37. Contacting a consumer who is represented by an attorney
  38. Sending a verification response directly to a consumer when verification was demanded by the consumer’s attorney
  39. Threatening a collection lawsuit when it wasn’t intended, or as imminent as represented
  40. Threatening a collection lawsuit when such action would exceed the collector’s contractual authority
  41. Threatening a collection lawsuit before verification, or before a statutory or contractual period for the consumer to cure delinquency
  42. Threatening a garnishment without a judgment or court order
  43. Enforcing a judgment that had already been vacated
  44. Stating or implying that a consumer lacks a legal defense to a collection lawsuit
  45. Stating or implying that a collection lawsuit had been commenced when it hadn’t
  46. Stating or implying that a judgment had been entered when it hadn’t
  47. Adding unauthorized charges or judgment costs without a judgment
  48. Falsely threatening referral to an attorney
  49. Misrepresenting rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  50. False threats of “investigations” into the consumer’s “assets”
Contact us right away if you suspect violations of any of the above, especially if you're bothered by any collector on this list
 

[1] Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

15 U.S. Code SUBCHAPTER V—DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES

§ 1692. Congressional findings and declaration of purpose

§ 1692a. Definitions

§ 1692b. Acquisition of location information

§ 1692c. Communication in connection with debt collection

§ 1692d. Harassment or abuse

§ 1692e. False or misleading representations

§ 1692f. Unfair practices

§ 1692g. Validation of debts

§ 1692h. Multiple debts

§ 1692i. Legal actions by debt collectors

§ 1692j. Furnishing certain deceptive forms

§ 1692k. Civil liability

§ 1692l. Administrative enforcement

§ 1692m. Reports to Congress by the Bureau; views of other Federal agencies

§ 1692n. Relation to State laws

§ 1692o. Exemption for State regulation

§ 1692p. Exception for certain bad check enforcement programs operated by private entities

[2] A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

...

(10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.

[3] Hartman v. Great Seneca Fin. Corp., 569 F.3d 606 (6th Cir. 2009).

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