The Iowa Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to protect Iowa consumers from creditor harassment or abusive and deceptive debt collection practices. Unlike the federal FDCPA, the Iowa FDCPA applies to debt collectors collecting their own debts. Unfortunately, many collectors and collection agencies ignore the law and will violate your rights on a regular basis if you let them. If you do not feel like being abused anymore, or if you would like to resolve your debt issues, please contact us for a free consultation to see if we can assist you.
Common Violations of the Iowa FDCPA include:
Calling consumers at work when the debt collector knows or should know that the consumer does not want calls at work.
Contacting neighbors, friends, family members, employers (with a few exceptions) or others not legally responsible for paying the debt.
There is a good argument a repossession agent for a lender who repossesses your car is not entitled to know your personal financial information, such as how much you owe on a car loan or how far behind you are on payments. All he needs to know is information to pick up the car, unless he is collecting the debt, in which case he cannot disclose the information to third parties just as any other debt collector is prohibited from doing. This debt collection law is routinely violated by lenders and repossession agents.
Contacting the consumer when it is, or should be known the consumer is represented by an attorney. An inexpensive no contact or cease communication letter from a lawyer is the fastest way to get phone calls stopped. You can get a free consultation with the Johnson Law Firm about sending a cease communication letter.
Causing the telephone to ring or engaging a person in a telephone conversation repeatedly, with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass.
Using obscene or insulting language that is intended to abuse the consumer. For example, a debt collector cannot swear at you or be insulting or demeaning. Ironically, it is not an unfair debt collection violation for you to swear at the debt collector, but I do not recommend it.
Calling at inconvenient times or before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
Threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken or that the debt collector does not intend to take. This commonly involves false threats to file lawsuit or to garnish Social Security or other exempt funds.
Threatening to file a lawsuit on an old debt beyond the Statute of Limitations (most commonly five years for credit card debt in Iowa).
What the Johnson Law Firm May be Able to do For You:
Require the debt collector to stop all contact with you immediately. The Johnson Law Firm can and will send a letter to the debt collector informing it that you are represented by an attorney and that all communication with you should stop immediately. If the debt collector calls or otherwise contacts you it is a violation of the law and you are entitled to up to $1,000 in compensation.
In some cases the Johnson Law Firm may be able to assist you in reducing or completely eliminating your debt. We can negotiate debt settlements. Unlike a debt settlement company, I am a lawyer licensed to practice law in Iowa and can represent you in a lawsuit if we decide to do that. With debt settlement companies, you generally pay them more than the Johnson Law Firm charges for fees, and you are usually on your own once a collection lawsuit is filed against you–somewhat like your pilot jumping out of the airplane just before it lands, letting you know you need to handle this on your own from here.
Possibly recover damages for violation of the Iowa or Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The debt collector engaging in unfair debt collection may have to pay attorney’s fees. If you have an unfair debt collection claim the Iowa and federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts are fee shifting statutes that requires the debt collector to pay attorney’s fees if you prevail in litigation.
If you feel that your rights have been violated please contact the Johnson Law Firm for a free consultation.