First of all, there are many law firms that do the bulk of their work for the debt collection industry. Because those law firms are engaged in collection activity under the definitions provided in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, those debt attorneys are bound by the provisions of the FDCPA. In other words, if they violate the FDCPA, they can be sued in federal court – just like a debt collection agency.
Next, you should know that many debt collection agencies send letters that say “pre-litigation notice” from their “legal department.” Typically, these letters are sent within five days of the first collection call you receive. All too often, these letters infer that, if you don’t pay, you will be taken to court. Frequently, these notices are sent in order to try and frighten or intimidate you into paying – even though you have the legal right to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving the letter.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector (and, remember, debt attorneys that primarily engage in debt collection activities are considered debt collectors under the law) can’t threaten to sue you if they don’t intend to do so. In other words, while they may have the resources to sue you and while the debt may be within the statute of limitations and therefore actionable in court, debt attorneys can’t dangle the threat of a lawsuit if they don’t intend to actually file that lawsuit. Along those same lines, debt collection agencies can’t send notices that appear to come from a court or appear to have been signed by a court clerk unless they are actually court documents.
There are two crucial things you should understand. First, letters from law firms or debt attorneys can’t be misleading. There’s a legal standard written into the FDCPA that says communication must be able to be understood by the “least sophisticated consumer.” In other words, they can’t try and trick you. Second, even if the initial letter from a debt collection agency threatens to sue you if you don’t pay by a certain date, you still have the right to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving that letter.
If you’ve received a letter from debt attorneys or a legal department, the language the letter uses may be in violation of the Fari Debt Collection Practices Act. We’d be happy to review the letter and see if it’s in violation of the FDCPA. To speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no obligation case evaluation.