When you owe a debt, you likely already feel overwhelmed by the financial implications. However, when you’re being harassed by a debt collector, the unfair and harassing methods may cause even more stress and anxiety. If you are targeted by a collector who is using unfair methods to collect a debt, you may be eligible to sue the collector for emotional distress with the help of a California debt collection harassment lawyer. Keep reading to learn the answers to some questions you may have about these instances.
What Constitutes Emotional Distress?
Generally, if a debt collector violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), they have engaged in an action or behavior deemed abusive by law. Examples of violations include:
- Using profanity
- Threatening physical violence
- Pretending to be law enforcement or an attorney
- Repeatedly calling your phone
- Contacting you at work even though you have told them you cannot take personal calls at work
- Telling your employer about your debt
While these are not the only violations a debt collector can engage in, they are some of the most harmful. In these instances, you may experience emotional distress from these behaviors. If a collector contacts your boss, you may experience humiliation, while their constant calling past the designated hours may make you lose sleep. Both of these instances can contribute to things like anxiety or depression. As such,you may be able to make a case for emotional distress.
It is important to note that only collectors who are covered under the FDCPA can be held liable for these behaviors. For example, if you lent a friend money and they are asking for it back, they would not be considered a collector. Only those pursuing a debt on behalf of another individual or company are considered collectors.
Can a Debt Collector Be Sued for Damages?
In instances where a collector violates your rights as a consumer and you have proof of these violations, you may be eligible to sue for emotional distress. An FDCPA violation has a maximum limit of $1,000 in damages per lawsuit, but you may be able to recover additional damages if you can prove that you suffered emotional harm due to the violations that occurred. For example, if you are diagnosed with anxiety or have to quit your job due to the humiliation of coworkers discovering you owe a debt, the court may order additional compensation as a result.
If a debt collector’s harassment has caused you emotional distress, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our legal team at Loker Law is dedicated to protecting consumers from unfair debt collection practices. As such, we will fight tirelessly for the justice you deserve. Contact us today to connect with a member of our legal team to discuss the details of your case.