The Concept of an FDCPA Suit

31 Jan The Concept of an FDCPA Suit

When a debt collector uses illegal debt collection tactics, a consumer can bring a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) for damages.  This point is easy to impart.  However, one of the key things about an FDCPA case which is often very difficult to impart is that the case is not about the debt.  As long as the alleged debt is a consumer debt, it doesn’t matter if the debt is owed or not.  The purpose of the FDCPA is to outlaw certain collection tactics, even if an underlying debt is completely valid and owing.  This means that a consumer can bring a FDCPA suit against a debt collector for money damages even if they owe a debt, but it also means that if someone wins a FDCPA case the debt does not go away.  I have found that some people have a hard time understanding this distinction.  It is a very important one, however; and it’s one of the reasons that federal court is the right forum for FDCPA cases: debt collectors usually cannot counterclaim for the debt in federal court and this keeps the focus where it belongs, on compensating the consumer for the abusive collection tactics.

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