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 surrenders the 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.
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.