DEBT COLLECTION CASES
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers the strongest protections of any federal or state law regulating the activities of debt collectors. Arkansas has adopted its own statute to regulated the activities of debt collectors, the Arkansas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (AFDCPA).
Both the FDCPA and the AFDCPA applies only to “debt collectors,” which generally includes debt collection agencies, debt buyers whose principal purpose is the collection of debts, collection lawyers, mortgage servicing companies that obtain servicing rights after default, creditors using false names or collecting for other creditors, repossession companies, and supplier or designers of deceptive forms.
The FDCPA and the AFDCPA prohibits certain conduct to protect a consumer from invasion of privacy, harassment, abuse, false or deceptive representations, and unfair or unconscionable collection methods. Specific debt collection acts that are prohibited are late night and repetitive phone calls and false threats of legal action. The FDCPA and the AFDCPA give consumers the right to require a debt collector to stop all collection contacts. The FDCPA and the AFDCPA also require a debt collector to deal with the consumer’s attorney when he or she has one. The FDCPA and the AFDCPA also gives consumers the right to require a debt collector to verify the existence, legality, or the amount of the debt it is attempting to collect. Debt collectors must provide two notices to consumers under the FDCPA and the AFDCPA.
Courts require strict adherence to the FDCPA and the AFDCPA’s explicit terms to accomplish the consumer protection goals of the US Congress and the Arkansas Legislature, respectively.
Violations of the FDCPA and the AFDCPA allow the consumer to recover actual damages (emotional distress and money spent by the consumer as a result of the violation), statutory damages of up to $1,000 under the FDCPA and the AFDCPA, and attorney fees.