Debt Collectors are not allowed to harass you with illegal threats to convince you to pay a debt. We see these illegal threats all the time. “We’re just going to garnish your wages!” is probably the most frequent threat, followed by “We’re going to press fraud charges against you, and you’ll go to jail”. In Pennsylvania, a debt collector cannot garnish your wages for a credit card or collection agency debt, except under very limited circumstances. Almost any threat to do so is illegal and likely gives you the right to file a lawsuit against that company. They’re also not going to file fraud charges against you. Simply failing to pay a credit card account is not fraudulent conduct, there’s much more to fraud than that.
Fortunately, there is a federal consumer law that protects individuals from these types of threats and its called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or, FDCPA for short. The FDCPA makes it illegal for debt collectors to threaten to do any type of activity that they either cannot do or that is illegal to do. The previous two examples, wage garnishment and jail time, top the list. Other threats that we see are that they are going to sell your house, talk to your boss, talk to your family and neighbors, sell your car… These threats are simply illegal and should not be tolerated by you.
Under the FDCPA, you have the ability to file a lawsuit against the debt collector. You may be entitled to receive up to $1000 in statutory damages per violation, and the best part is that you can recover reasonable attorney fees for any violation. Imagine that, a free attorney! Our office does not charge a retainer on FDCPA violation cases as we simply obtain our fees from the debt collector.
If you have other debt collection threat or violation questions, please visit the remainder of our site for information. We have an FDCPA FAQ’s page, and a page that discusses various threats that we have heard.
Call our office at 412-348-8600 for a free, no obligation, 15 minute consultation.