Fed-up consumers are fighting back against overly aggressive debt collectors, slapping collection agencies and creditors with a record 7,923 lawsuits from January 1 through August 15, 2011, according to a report in Collections & Credit Risk.
By comparison, in the same period from a year ago, consumers filed only 7,169 such lawsuits. That means lawsuits against debt collectors are up more than 10% so far in 2011.
Topping the list of legal complaints were alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. Consumers claimed that collection agents violated the FDCPA in 7,249 of those lawsuits.
Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FDCPA, were cited in 833 lawsuits, and Truth-in-Lending Act violations were cited in 705 cases.
The figures are based on data gathered from U.S. District Courts via WebRecon LLC, a Grand Rapids, Michigan based research firm.
As a sign of how busy the courts are, in the Aug. 1-15, 2011 period alone, nearly 500 different collection agencies and creditors were sued for various consumer statute violations.
The places where lawsuits were most frequently filed in the Aug. 1-15, 2011 period were: Colorado District Court, Denver, 33 lawsuits; New York Eastern District Court, Brooklyn, 25 lawsuits; and the California Central District Court, Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania Eastern District Court, Philadelphia, which each had 24 lawsuits.
If debt collectors are driving you crazy and using illegal, over-the-top tactics to try to force you to pay debts, here’s some advice on how to deal with those debt collectors.
Lastly, it’s vitally important to know your rights under the law, so here is a synopsis of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, which gives you 10 areas of protection. It also tells you what creditors legally can and can’t do.
Whatever the situation, if a debt collector violates your rights, document the incident and take action by reporting the agency to the Federal Trade Commission. Don’t stand for abusive creditors and collection agents who break the law.