Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Lawsuit: What Damages Are Available?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Collection agencies that use illegal tactics for debt collection may be in violation of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state statutes that protect consumers. Damages in these cases vary depending upon the situation, but can add up quickly.

Available Damages from FDCPA Lawsuit

We asked Steve Recordon, an attorney from San Diego, California whose firm represents individuals who have been sued or harassed by debt buyers, what types of damages are available in these cases. Although he said that damages really vary depending upon the situation, he provided the following example of what has become known in the industry as an “office party” where a debt collection company obtains the phone numbers of debtor’s coworkers and supervisors and contacts them with the intention of embarrassing the debtor:

The debt buyers, private companies that purchase consumer debt for pennies on the dollar and then use unscrupulous tactics in order to collect, call all your fellow employees, including your boss. They tell them about the debt. You’re embarrassed, humiliated and end up getting fired. When you have a situation like that, and it’s not uncommon, part of your damages are going to be your lost wages. Part of your damages may be due to the emotional distress. The damages relating to telephone cases can be substantial – quite substantial.

Recordon also says that certain groups of people tend to receive large jury awards. He explained, “These debt buyers often prey on older people that are on Social Security, those on fixed incomes or others that may not have all of their faculties in place, such as the disabled and the very poor. Those are their real targets, but cases involving these people can also result in substantial jury awards.”

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Fighting Back Against Debt Collection Harassment

Recordon says that consumers can fight back when they’ve been sued or harassed by debt buyers. He told us, “It’s important to remember that under the FDCPA, if the case is decided in favor of the consumer, he or she will collect the $1,000 and not be responsible for attorneys’ fees. There’s no downside to a debtor that’s being harassed by these creditors in discussing their situation with an attorney. The only issue is that very few attorneys deal in this area. It’s a new area of law, an area of law that very few lawyers are familiar with and it’s an area of law that really is a specialty practice.”

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption