What Kind of Damages Can I Get From A Debt Collector For Violations Of The FDCPA? Part 3: Special

14 Apr What Kind of Damages Can I Get From A Debt Collector For Violations Of The FDCPA? Part 3: Special

In Part 1 and 2, I discussed the two basic kinds of damages available from a debt collector for violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act: (1) statutory; (2) actual.  This discussion centers on the third kind of damages: Special.   Each of these kinds of damages require different kinds of debt collection behavior to be proved by the consumer who is fighting back against abuse. In Part 1, I discussed “statutory” damages — $1000 for a violation of the FDCPA.  In Part 2, I discussed “actual” damages – such as emotional distress, lost wages, money spent, etc.   The third kind of damages is imposed by the jury or judge in debt collection abuse cases when (1) the debt collector’s behavior is especially bad or (2) the victim of the behavior falls into especially vulnerable categories of victims (for example, children, elderly, handicapped, very low income).

The third kind of damages can be called “punitive” damages.   The Court or jury finds that awarding statutory or actual damages is not enough to restore the victim and to stop the behavior.   So the jury or judge has the opportunity sometimes to impose damages designed to punish the behavior in an effort to get the debt collector to stop their actions in the next case or to change their system, so the same kind of problem never happens again.

If a debt collector has contacted you in an abusive manner and or caused you actual harm, please contact an experienced attorney in your area to discuss what remedies might be available to you.

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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