Our firm litigates many consumer-protection cases and one of the laws we
often use to protect members of the public is called the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, more commonly known as the “FDCPA”. The FDCPA
provides for debt collectors who engage in certain harassing conduct to
pay their victims. One question we often get is “Well if I owe them
money, doesn’t that mean that even if I win an FDCPA case, I wouldn’t
get anything?” The answer to that is a firm “no”. A
debt collection in the Ninth Circuit tried to scam its way out of liability
under the FDCPA in a manner which we occasionally encounter in South Florida,
though it is a tactic which virtually never succeeds.
In the case of Arellano v. Clark County Collection Service, a debt collector
obtained a default judgment against a member of the public, Arellano.
Arellano later sued the debt collector for misconduct regarding their
debt collection efforts. The debt collector then obtained a court order
from a lower level court ordering that the consumer surrender their lawsuit
to the debt collector. Doing would effectively write the FDCPA out of
existence as any debt collector who wins a lawsuit who was actually sued
could theoretically seize the lawsuit and then dismiss it. That a lower
level court actually allowed such a thing to occur is ridiculous. We do
on rare occasion see attempts at something like this in South Florida
but it almost never works.
The consumer appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and
ultimately ruled that to allow such a thing to occur would “thwart
enforcement of the FDCPA and undermine its purpose.”
Just because you owe someone money does not mean they get a free pass to
violate your rights.
If you would like to read more about the FDCPA and consumers fighting back
against debt collectors, you can find other stories on our blog:
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers
with their debt problems, contact us to see how we may be able to help you:
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.