Why Do Consumer Protection Statutes Have “Fee Shifting” To Help Consumers under the FDCPA?

Why Do Consumer Protection Statutes Have “Fee Shifting” To Help Consumers under the FDCPA?

The short answer is that it allows you, as a consumer, to hire a competent lawyer even if you can’t afford to spend $10,000 or $100,000 on a skilled lawyer.

The additional reason is that it is a wonderful motivator for abusive debt collectors (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act)n and credit reporting agencies (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and the companies that furnish false credit reporting information (FCRA) to resolve cases early when they know they have been caught.  Caught breaking the law….

If a debt collector or Equifax or Bank of America knows it broke the law, and it knows that it is facing paying your lawyer $400 per hour, then it tends to make the abusive company say “You know what?  Maybe I should work this out so I don’t pay my ‘tall building lawyer’ a bunch of money and have to pay the consumer’s lawyer fees of $400 an hour.”

In some cases, companies think they can “spend you into the ground” by filing all sorts of bogus and frivolous motions and fighting over every detail.

They don’t mind spending $100,000 on legal fees even if they could settle the case with you for $30,000 because they are trying to send a message.

“Don’t ever mess with us.”  That’s the signal they are trying to send you and other consumers.

But if they have to pay you $30,000 and your lawyer $100,000 and their lawyer $100,000.

Now, that gets their attention!

So not only do fee shifting statutes “even the playing field” by allowing you to have a lawyer who can fight back against the large number of lawyers these big companies can throw into the case, but it can make even these greedy abusive companies think twice about fighting on every detail.

Especially when they know the likely end result is they will lose at trial and pay you money and your lawyer’s money.

The last FDCPA case we tried — a three and half day trial — we had $125,000 in fees.  On a case that could have been settled for under $10,000 early on.

This is what scares these companies — oh, and their own arrogance which tends to make the juries consider fully compensating you…

Contact us if you have any questions.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

If you live in Alabama and want to talk to us, feel free to pick up the phone and dial 205-879-2447 to reach us.

Or you can contact us through our website contact page.

Either way, we look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions.

Have a great day!

-John G. Watts


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