Nowadays, many people are dealing with the nightmare of paying back their student loans. Sometimes, consumers are unable to make payment on this debt for different reasons. Maybe you lost your job or were injured and out of work for an extended period of time. Whatever the reason for nonpayment, collection companies are not allowed to barrage you with collection calls. In previous blogs, I discussed the three statutes that protect you from harassing collection calls- the FDCPA, FCCPA, and TCPA. Unfortunately, a recent change in the law has made it legal for collection companies to autodial your cell phone if they are calling in an attempt to collect a federal student loan. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (“Act”) was signed into law by President Obama and made effective as of November 2, 2015. In short, the Act amended the TCPA and created an exemption for calls made to cell and residential telephone numbers pursuant to the collection of debts owed to, or guaranteed by, the United States. Simply put, debt collectors who are collecting on federal student loans now can autodial your cell phone with no fear of being sued under the TCPA.
The silver lining to this exemption is that you can still sue debt collectors for harassing collection calls under the FDCPA & FCCPA. All you need to do is tell them to “stop calling” and briefly inform them why you cannot pay the debt. Again, maybe you lost your job or you were injured and accrued an insurmountable amount of medical debt. If you do this a few times, they no longer have the right to call and attempt to collect the subject debt. If they continue to call, they are simply harassing you because they know why you cannot pay the debt. You may not be entitled to $500 to $1,500 per call under the TCPA, but you can still recover up to $1,000 for these harassing collection calls under the FDCPA & FCCPA. Further, you are entitled to have your attorney’s fees paid for by the abusive debt collectors. That’s right, the calls will stop, you won’t have to pay attorney’s fees, and you can pocket some money for these harassing collection calls.
Contact A Consumer Protection Attorney
The moment you receive your first call after you have told these debt collectors to stop calling you is the moment you have a possible case in a court of law. What you will need to do is contact a consumer protection law firm that regularly handles these types of cases. Since the beginning of my legal career I have devoted my practice area to consumer law and handling collection call cases throughout Florida and in particular, St. Petersburg. Dealing with collection call harassment day in and day out, it is easy to see how these calls can cause unnecessary levels of stress. I will speak to any potential client the moment they have received that first call from a debt collector or creditor and told them to “stop calling”. If you wonder if you might have a potential case, call me or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what has happened. Let me turn the tables on these collection companies.