DEBT COLLECTION DEFENSE
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices. Consumers may recover money damages against debt collectors
who use false or misleading statements or actions when attempting to collect debt. A debt collector violates the FDCPA when it
falsely represents the character, amount, or legal status of a debt;
threatens to take any action that it cannot legally take;
falsely represents that an individual is an attorney, or that a document was sent by an attorney;
use a fictitious name when communicating with a consumer; or
falsely represents or implies that a consumer committed a crime or that non-payment will result in arrest.
The above list is not exhaustive. The FDCPA generally applies to any type of false, misleading, or deceptive statements or conduct that a debt collector uses in collection activities.
Additionally, debt collectors must closely review a consumer's file before communicating with or filing suit against a consumer. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from suing consumer in a court located outside of his or her home county or federal district. Also, if challenged, a debt collector must be able to prove that the debt is valid, that it actually owns the debt, and that it has the right to collect the account in question. The FDCPA protects consumers by affording them a form of due process.
Wisconsin Consumer Act
The Wisconsin Consumer Act ("WCA") also prohibits unfair, deceptive, and abusive debt collection practices. In some ways, Wisconsin's debt collection law goes even farther to protect consumers. While the FDCPA's definition of "debt collector"is limited to companies and persons who attempt to collect debt on behalf of others, the WCA also applies to merchants attempting to collect their own debts.
O'Connor Law Firm exclusively represents consumers and debtors in collection cases. Both the FDCPA and WCA allow successful claimants to recover attorney fees, meaning that O'Connor Law Firm may be able to represent you for no upfront fees or only minimal upfront fees. If you have been sued or are being threatened or harassed by a debt collector, or have any question about your rights, call (608) 203-6349 today for a free initial consultation.