Debt collector sued for threatening wage garnishment
Under the federal Fair debt Collection Practices Act, creditors and debt collectors may not use abusive debt collection practices. This means that companies and individuals may not intimidate, threaten, harass, or lie to a debtor when they are attempting to collect on a debt. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of consumer complaints about improper debt collection practices increased by more than 15 percent in 2010, likely due to the struggling economy.
In addition to making a complaint to the FTC, debtors who are being pressured by debt collectors have another option for putting an end to the harassment: filing a civil lawsuit. Recently, one debtor field such a lawsuit after a debt collector threatened him with wage garnishment and a lawsuit if he did not pay his debt.
According to the court complaint, the defendant debt collection company began placing collection calls to the plaintiff in April regarding an unpaid debt. The debt collector quickly escalated their efforts, threatening to garnish the plaintiff’s wages if he did not pay the debt. In addition, they also threatened to garnish his mother’s wages if the debt was not paid, and they threatened legal action against the plaintiff.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff accuses the defendant of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act by “harassing, oppressing or abusing [the plaintiff] in connection with the debt,” as well as by using “false, deceptive or misleading representation of the debt.” In addition, the defendant is accused of “giving false implication that the nonpayment of the debt will result in garnishment of wages.”
Hopefully, the court will find the debt collector liable for this improper action, and send a message to any other company that may be using threats to collect debts.
Source: SE Texas Record, “Debt collection company sued for threatening wage garnishment,” Michelle Keahey, July 25, 2011