• Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: The Fundamentals
  • March 29, 2011 | Authors: John R. Chiles; Zachary D. Miller
  • Law Firm: Burr & Forman LLP - Birmingham Office
  • Enacted in 1978, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") was created to "eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors" by placing restrictions on the communications that debt collectors have with consumers and by protecting debt collectors who avoid using abusive practices from being competitively disadvantaged. This purpose is achieved by prohibiting certain types of conduct by debt collectors making attempts to collect consumer debt. Debt collectors who find themselves violating the provisions of the statute can find themselves liable to the debtor for actual damages, statutory damages not exceeding $1,000.00 per action, as well as the "costs of the action" and "reasonable attorney's fee[s] as determined by the court." It is the extensive damages available to the consumer, as well as the promise of attorney's fees to a successful plaintiff, that becomes the driving force behind FDCPA lawsuits.