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Understanding Your Consumer Rights: Debt Collection Violations 

Even if you owe a debt, creditors and debt collectors must follow strict laws when attempting to collect funds from you. Knowing your rights is the first step towards protecting yourself.


At Armas & Joseph, we are dedicated to protecting your collection rights and ensuring you are treated fairly.

Debt Collections

What Are Your Rights Under Federal Law:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Under the FDCPA, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1692 to 1692p, consumers are afforded extensive protections against collection practices. The FDCPA applies to third-party debt collectors and includes key rights such as:

  • General Rights: Debt collectors cannot use any abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices.

  • Communication Restrictions: Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 AM or after 9 PM, or at your workplace if they are aware that your employer prohibits such communications.

  • Cease Communication Requests: You have the right to request that a debt collector stop contacting you or only contact you in a specific manner, like in writing via mail. Once this request is received, the collector can only contact you to confirm there will be no further contact or to notify you of specific actions being taken, or in the manner requested. 

  • Prohibition of Harassment and Abuse: Debt collectors cannot use threats of violence, obscene language, or repeatedly call to annoy or harass you.

  • False and Misleading Representations: Debt collectors cannot misrepresent the amount you owe, falsely claim to be attorneys, or threaten legal action that they do not intend to take.

  • Statute of Limitations: The FDCPA recognizes that debts are subject to a statute of limitations, and debt collectors cannot sue you for debts that are time-barred.

  • Validation of Debt: You have the right to request verification of the debt within 30 days of receiving the initial communication from the debt collector. The collector must provide written verification of the debt before continuing collection efforts.

  • Third-Party Disclosure Restrictions: Debt collectors are generally prohibited from discussing your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.

  • Legal Recourse: If a debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA, you have the right to sue for actual damages, statutory damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees and costs.


What Are Your Rights Under California Law Protections:

The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA)

California provides additional protections under the RFDCPA, codified in California Civil Code Sections § 1788 to 1788.33. This law mirrors and expands upon the FDCPA, offering state-specific safeguards:

  • Broad Definition of Debt Collectors: Unlike the FDCPA, the RFDCPA applies to original creditors as well as third-party collectors, thereby extending protections to more consumers.

  • Additional Restrictions on Communication: California law prohibits debt collectors from using profane language or contacting you with such frequency as to be considered harassment.

  • Debt Collection Practices: The RFDCPA ensures that collectors cannot falsely represent the character, amount, or legal status of your debt, nor can they use deceptive methods to collect debts.

  • Medical Debt Protections: California law provides additional protections for medical debts, including notification requirements and a prohibition on reporting unpaid medical debt to credit bureaus for a specified period.

  • Privacy Protections: Debt collectors must keep your personal information confidential and cannot disclose your debt to unauthorized parties.

  • Legal Recourse: If a debt collector violates your rights under the RFDCPA, you have the right to sue for actual damages, statutory damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees and costs. 


How We Can Help!

Navigating the complexities of federal and state debt collection laws can be challenging. At Armas & Joseph, our experienced attorneys are committed to defending your rights. If you believe you are a victim of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices, we can help you:

  • Evaluate Your Case: Determine whether your rights under the FDCPA or RFDCPA have been violated.

  • Stop Harassment: Take immediate action to stop unlawful collection practices and hold debt collectors accountable.

  • Seek Compensation: Pursue damages and legal remedies available under federal and state law, including for actual damages, statutory damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees. Most often we take these cases on contingency – meaning we will only get paid if we are successful and by the business violating your right.

  • Negotiate Settlements: Work with debt collectors to negotiate manageable payment plans or settlements on your behalf.

  • Credit Report Corrections: Assist you in disputing and correcting any erroneous entries on your credit report related to unlawful debt collection activities.


Contact Us

If you are experiencing issues with debt collectors, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Armas & Joseph today for a free consultation. Let us help you understand your rights and provide the legal support you need to protect yourself from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices.


Disclaimer: This website description is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For personalized legal assistance, please consult with an attorney.

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