How do I stop debt collector calls in Georgia?
Our law firm helps consumers stop debt collectors from harassing them. We have offices in Duluth, Georgia, where attorney Cyclone Covey (yes, real name) leads our Atlanta practice. If you’re being harassed by debt collectors, we may be able to help. Call us at 657-845-3100. We don’t charge for consultations and don’t charge to review your case and do an initial evaluation of it.
A lot of people think there’s nothing you can do if a debt collector is targeting you – they think you just have to sit there and take it. But that isn’t true. There are right ways and wrong ways to try to collect a debt, and if you’re getting harassed, it might actually be illegal.
There are two basic laws that help Georgia victims of abusive debt collection practices: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which lawyers call the “FDCPA,” and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. The FDCPA makes a lot of unfair practices illegal specifically when it comes to debt collection. The Georgia Fair Business Practices Act is more general, but it stops businesses from engaging in practices that are deceptive or unfair. If you’ve ever been called twenty times in a day by a debt collector who already knows you can’t pay, you’d probably agree that’s “unfair.”
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lets victims of debt collectors sue for $1,000 in damages in what is essentially a penalty – even if you’re not out of pocket any money, you can still win the $1,000 if they’re breaking the rules. The point is to make sure that debt collection companies who break the rules can’t get away scot free.
You can also get damages if you’ve been harmed financially, or even emotional distress damages if you’ve been treated badly enough. There’ve been some cases of truly outrageous behavior from debt collectors – one company even set up a fake courtroom with a woman pretending to be a judge. When the collectors got people there, the fake judge would threaten to put debtors in jail. Not all debt collectors go that far, but some make threats, tell people they might get prosecuted, threaten to sue when they can’t, or call you over and over or even harass your family.
In one case in Georgia, a debt collector called a mother whose daughter had supposedly taken out an $800 debt in her name. Gibson v. Rosenthal, Stein, & Assocs., LLC, No. 1:12-cv-2990-WSD, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82093 (N.D. Ga. June 17, 2014). The debt collector “threatened to send the Cobb County Sheriff to Plaintiff’s home to arrest her if she did not immediately make a payment on the loan.” If you’re thinking that a debt collector can’t threaten to send the Cobb County Sheriff to arrest you, you’re right—the mother won $ $26,631.18 in damages.
In another case in the Northern District of Georgia, a debt collector sent “numerous letters improperly threatening damage to plaintiff’s credit rating and business reputation.” Florence v. Nat’l Sys., CIVIL ACTION NO. C82-2020A, 1983 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20344 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 14, 1983). The plaintiff said they didn’t even owe the debt, but the debt collector was threatening their credit rating anyway. The debt collector sent a threatening letter saying: “Since you have ignored our last letter, let me tell you what is going to happen next. A full and detailed account of your deceptive business practices is going to be sent to our credit reporting agencies to be entered into their computers. At the very least your credit rating will be damaged, and your professional standing as well.” It didn’t go well for that debt collector either – the plaintiff won $8,000 and the debt collector had to pay their attorney’s fees.
In another case filed by attorneys against a debt collector in Norcross, Georgia, debt collectors started calling the plaintiff’s friend and leaving debt collection messages. Burns v. Halsted Fin. Servs., LLC, No. 1:15-cv-4287-LMM-JKL, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139440 (N.D. Ga. Sep. 13, 2016). The friend didn’t have anything to do with the debt – it was just a way to try to harass the person into paying. The court held that this violated the FDCPA, and it ordered the debt collector to pay $1,500 to the victim and to pay their attorney’s fees, too.
Some debt collectors try to collect debts you don’t actually owe, or they get the wrong name and don’t bother to check. They might charge fees that aren’t even legal. They might call you in the middle of the night or lie to you about all kinds of things.
Every case is different. The people on the phone trying to get money from you often don’t really care about the law. But our attorneys can review your case and see what your legal rights are. The more you have documented and the more proof you have, the better.
If you feel like you’re being harassed by a debt collector, call Kneupper & Covey PC at today at 657-845-3100, or e-mail us at email@example.com. We handle lawsuits by consumers against debt collection companies, and we’re happy to review your case. We don’t charge any fees for consultation.