How to Sue for Violations of the FDCPA?

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from abusive, illegal and harassment tactics by creditors, including collection agencies. The FDCPA has numerous provisions for creditors. For example, a creditor cannot threaten you with jail or with a lawsuit if the creditor has no legal standing or intention to sue. You can sue a debt collector who violates the act, as the laws provides for up to $1,000 for each violation.

Make a detailed list of all creditor contact. Include dates and times the creditor called and a conversation summary. Keep all correspondence from the creditor. Make copies of all letters to the creditor before mailing. Copy the list and any other evidence -- such as harassing voice mails from the creditor -- of FDCPA violations.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at the official website or call 877-382-4357. Get a copy of the complaint.

Ask witnesses for sworn statements. For example, if a co-worker heard repeated calls from the collection agency after the agency was told not to call at work, ask the colleague for a statement covering the facts and dates and times of the calls. Make copies.

Locate a copy of the FDCPA. Visit the official website of the Federal Trade Commission to get a copy online. Visit the local library to view federal law books containing the act.

List each violation of the FDCPA, using the act as reference. Write down the exact section, number and letter of each provision of the act the creditor violated.

Locate the small claims court with jurisdiction over the case. Use the court with jurisdiction over the collection agency's address.

Go to the small claims court. Bring the FDCPA violations list. Ask the court clerk for the small claims form.

Complete the form. Forms vary by area, but you commonly need the business's name and address, the nature of the lawsuit and the requested damages. Damages vary by case, but you can sue up to the small claims limit. Use the violation list to list the violations and the matching FDCPA provisions on the form.

File the form in court. Ask for a stamped copy.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may have to sue in the state court if the agency is in another state. Check the court rules of the small claims court near your home to determine where to file.

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