If you are a Californian and have a debt that has been recently sold or is about to be sold, you have a measure of protection the rest of the country lacks. The protection comes in the form of the California Fair Debt Buying Practices Act (FDBPA).
What is the FDBPA?
The FDBPA is a California law that applies to all debts that were sold or resold after January 1, 2014. It provides that a debt buyer/debt collector (an entity or individual who bought an older debt) who is trying to collect on the debt owed to the previous lender must first produce a number of documents to you upon your written request. These include:
- Documents proving the debt buyer has the right to seek collection of the debt
- The balance of the debt along with an explanation of interest charges and fees
- The date of default on the debt or the date of last payment
- The name of the original creditor who charged off the debt and the account number of the debt
- The name and last known address of the debtor as it appeared in the records prior to the sale of the debt
- The names of all the people/entities who have purchased the debt
- A copy of the contract which created the debt
- All of the above must be provided to the debtor upon written request within 15 days
If the debt buyer/collector does not have or cannot provide this information, they lack the prerequisites to sue you under the law.
The law also requires collectors to inform debtors if the statute of limitations has run on the debt and if so, they must inform the consumer that they are not allowed to sue. Further, the FDBPA requires the collector/debt buyer to inform the consumer that if the debt is over seven years delinquent that not only can they not sue them for it but that it will also not be reported to any credit reporting agency.
How Does the FDBPA Protect Me?
The FDPBA makes unscrupulous debt buyers toe the line. No longer can a debt buyer purchase a 10 year-old debt that has been written off and tell you that you have to pay up or they will sue you. They also have to provide you with paperwork that enables you or your attorney to verify the validity of the debt and that it is actually your debt. The bottom line is that it puts you, the consumer, on a more even footing with the debt buyer/collectors who hold all the cards, and up until now, all of the information. In any written collection letter sent to you by this “Debt Buyer” they must inform you in writing of these rights, and if they fail to do so this is by itself a violation of the FDBPA. Violations of this law can carry severe penalties of up to $500,000 in class action suits which is strong motivation to ensure compliance with the law.
What Are My Options Under the FDBPA?
If you feel like you have been a victim of a violation of the FDBPA, contact an attorney. The skilled and experienced staff at the BLC Law Center is ready to set up your free initial consultation today. Please give us a call us at (800) 551-7922 to get the ball rolling. You may be able to recover damages up to any judgment a debt buyer may have obtained against you that was outside the statute of limitations or more. The court can also award attorney fees and court costs for our firm having to force them to comply with this law. The recovery could be substantial, especially if the debt buyer/collector has a history of poor behavior.
For example, if a Debt Collection company (MCT Collection Services, Inc.) sends you to a letter requesting payment on a debt you owed to Chase Bank, then you may have a FDBPA claim that could not only alleviate you from having to pay the debt, but possibly allow you to obtain receive an award of damages from this Debt Buyer for violating the FDBPA. Therefore, if you get a debt collection notice from a company you never borrowed money from attempting to collect on the debt, call our office at 1-800-551-7922 in order to let our trained lawyers examine your situation and get you the results you deserve.