Top Mistakes To Kill Your FDCPA Case Against An Abusive Collector

Top Mistakes To Kill Your FDCPA Case Against An Abusive Collector

We have seen Alabama consumers have a great case under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) but then lose their case because of mistakes the consumers have made.  Here are some of the top mistakes and why they can kill your FDCPA case against an abusive collector.

Taping a call that is illegal to tape – a two-party state.

We suggest you do not tape record phone calls with collectors — it is unnecessary and potentially dangerous to do so.  There have been people threatened with prosecution by unethical collectors and district attorneys — the threat is you must drop your case or face criminal punishment.  Totally illegal and unethical but that’s reality. Don’t give these abusive collectors the chance to hurt you in this way.

If you tape the call, make sure the other side has consented.  Normally if you call they will say, “This call may be recorded” so they apparently consent.  You consent.

Taping a call that is appropriate but the matter in which the taping is done suggests that the consumer was trying to set up or entrap the debt collector.

We never recommend trapping or tricking debt collectors.  That’s not right and there is no reason.

If you are dealing with an honest collector, they won’t break the law.

If you are dealing with a dis-honorable collector, they will be eager to break the law.

No need to help them.

All you need to do is always act honorably and document what the collector says and threatens.  These guys who are willing to break the law don’t need your help — they can blow past the lines of legality by themselves just fine….

Failing to understand what a business debt is even if it is personally owed.

The FDCPA only applies to consumer debt.  Make sure you tell your lawyer what the debt is for so your lawyer can help you understand if the FDCPA even applies.

If you hide this from your lawyer, you may have what appears to be a good case go up in smoke.  So it needs to be figured out on the front end what type of debt you are dealing with…..

Hiding from us the fact that you have been convicted of a crime.

If you have been convicted (pled guilty, etc) of a crime, that may come out in the trial.  That’s fine. As long as we know about it.

If you have done your time — you have paid the price — then we find the overly eager under skilled lawyer who wants to beat you up over this in front of a jury to be ineffective.

But if you hide your crimes. If you try and fool us and fool the debt collector lawyers. Then you can lose your whole case.

Once you lose your credibility, you lose your case.

Remember Martha Stewart didn’t go to jail for insider trading — she went to jail for lying about it afterwards.

Being dishonest about any aspect of the case.

To expand on the last point — be honest.  Don’t exaggerate or stretch the truth.

Again — if you lose your credibility, you lose your case.

That simple.

This is why debt collectors who break the law make sure poor witnesses — they seem incapable of not lying and when the jury realizes this abusive collector has lied to the jury, it’s over.

Being abusive towards the debt collector which could be a very negative thing and could ruin a good case.

Remember, you wear the white hat.  You are the good guy.  Don’t cuss out the collector.  Don’t lie to the collector.

Let it be a stark contrast between how respectful and truthful you are and how arrogant and abusive and dishonest the collector is….

Blogging about the case or talking about some on social media or doing anything that would be inconsistent with the claim of actual damages and emotional distress.

Don’t talk about your case.  Its fine for the public record of the complaint to be out there but you don’t need to go into any level of detail (or generalities) about your case.

You have hired us to present your story.  Let us put the facts together.

Don’t try and do it yourself.

You may say something that you mean in an innocent way that destroys your whole case.

Best rule of thumb — don’t talk to anyone in any way about your case unless we tell you to….

Just talking about the case or talking about strategy or talking about plans in the case to anybody other than us.

Related to the last point — don’t talk about the strategy of the case.

Don’t take a letter or email we send you with our thoughts on the case and share it with your uncle or brother or anyone else.

If you do, you may have caused our communications to become unprotected and no longer privileged and you may have given away the strategy to the abusive collector.

Talk to us and no one else.

Statute of limitations runs.

If you have a potential case, have an FDCPA lawyer look at the case.  There is a one year statute of limitation that can sometimes be tricky to figure out when it starts.  Don’t wait too long and lose the right to bring your case.

There are lots of other issues — feel free to call us at 205-879-2447

Now if you already have a lawyer, call your lawyer not us.  We get a lot of calls from folks who can’t get their lawyers to talk to them.  We understand the frustration but we can’t talk to you.

So if you don’t have a lawyer, call us if you are in Alabama.  Our phone number is 205-879-2447 and we’ll be happy to chat with you.

Or you can fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back with you.

Thanks and talk to you soon!

John Watts

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