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Debt Collection Laws: Can I Sue a Debt Collector or Collection Agency?

Your Rights to Sue for Harassment by a Creditor


Yes, federal law permits individuals, and groups of individuals to sue collection agencies. But you must sue within one year of any alleged violation of your rights. If you do win, you can only recover damages suffered, plus an additional amount of up to $1,000. Your award may also include recovering court costs and attorneys fees.

In class action suit filed by a group of people, the group may recover up to one percent of the collection agency’s worth, or, $500,000, whichever is less.

Debt collectors are generally not too fearful of being sued because of the financial limits on what you can get back. It may also be difficult to prove that your rights were violated, and the burden of proof will be on you.

It is a good idea to let a debt collector that is harassing you know that you are aware of all your rights, including the right to sue. But it is never a good idea to threaten to sue unless you really intend to do so.

Because you are already in debt, a collection agency may not even take the threat seriously, confident that you cannot afford an attorney to represent you in court.

It is important that you keep very detailed records of the dates and times the collector has called. Write down the name, and if possible, the phone number from where the call came from. Also keep notes on what was said. This information is absolutely critical to proving a case of harassment in court.

If you are unable to resolve your problems with the collection agency, and they continue to harass you, or, their activities have already caused you harm, talk to an attorney before threatening to sue.

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