How to Sue a Collection Agency

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If you want to sue a collection agency that is harassing you, you will need to make sure all your documentation is in order and that the collection agency has, in fact, willfully broken the law. Ensuring you have done both will immeasurably strengthen your case.

  • Read the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Familiarize yourself with the law so you are clear that the collection agency or debt collector has committed a violation.

  • Document every violation. If you receive a call at 10 p.m., write down the date and time. If you answer the phone, get the debt collector’s name. Also document each call you get throughout the day. If you continually receive calls at your job after you have declared this off limits, write down the dates and times. Also document calls that come to family members or friends.

  • State that the company is violating the FDCPA. You can't win in court unless you can prove the violations occurred willfully and not in error. Make sure you repeatedly make the callers aware of their violations and write that down as well.

  • Record each telephone call, if you can. However, be sure to let the debt collector know each call is being recorded.

  • Answer the phone. If the caller resorts to threats or profanity and you can get this on tape, it is very helpful to your case. If you cannot record, at least document it in writing.

  • Send a dispute letter to the collection agency asking that it validate the debt. If it fails to respond or sends a printout of merely your name and the amount owed, you can include this as a violation. You can also use it to have the negative removed while you are in court.

  • Make a list of any monetary damages the collection agency has caused you. Perhaps repeated calls at work caused you to lose your job or the negative tradeline caused you to pay a higher interest rate on your car. You can sue for any monetary damages plus $1,000.

  • Check collectionagency411.com to see if the collection agency harassing you is even licensed to collect in your state. If not, it must immediately cease communication with you and remove its tradeline from your credit report. Plus, it is just one more violation on the road to your successful lawsuit.

  • File your lawsuit. Whether or not you hire a lawyer is your decision, but it is most likely that the collection agency will offer to settle with you by removing the tradeline from your credit report. Only agree to this if the agency provides you written proof that it will remove the tradeline and not resell the debt.

  • Watch your time frame. You can only sue a collection agency for damages within one year of the time the damages occurred.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your debt is outside your state's statute of limitations for legal action. Otherwise, you may find yourself being sued. You can easily look up the statute of limitations on any search engine.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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