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Lawsuits against debt collectors

All debt collectors break laws when attempting to collect debts. When they do, you can sue them for damages. This can result in the debt collector or creditor owing you more money than your debt, so that you make a profit. This is the object of Debt Inversion.


The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows you to sue a debt collector for "abusive and deceptive" conduct when attempting to collect debts. Such conduct includes:

•  Violating or threatening to violate any federal, state or local criminal law. Many of the acts prohibited by the FDCPA are also crimes under federal or New York State law. See Debt Collection Crimes. Federal and state criminal laws prohibit additional conduct that the FDCPA does not cover.

• Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously. Under New York City law, a creditor or debt collector may not call people more than twice a week, or risk losing its license to collect debts in New York City.

• Contacting consumers by telephone outside of the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time;

• Contacting consumers at their place of employment after being advised that the consumer is not allowed to accept debt collection calls at work;

• Contacting a consumer known to be represented by an attorney;

• Misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collector's misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer.

• Seeking unjustified amounts not permitted under an applicable contract or as provided by law;

• Threatening arrest;

• Using abusive or profane language
• Revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties or threatening to do so;

• Reporting false information on a consumer's credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection. This is also a violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.


When a debt collector illegally harasses you or violates any of the above provisions of the FDCPA, you can recover the following damages:

1. Up to $1,000 or your "Actual Damages" (see below), which may be much greater than $1,000.

2. Attorneys’ fees.

3. The costs of the lawsuit.


The following is a list of “actual damages” that you may be able to recover when a creditor or debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA. This is not a complete list of all types of damages recoverable under the FDCPA. You may have suffered different or additional damages that are not on the list.

1. Damages for emotional distress may include stress-related injuries and conditions such as the following:

Heart attack, angina, chest constrictions; miscarriage; ulcers, diabetic flare- up; shock; loss of appetite; crying; nightmares; insomnia, night sweats; emotional paralysis; inability to think or function at work; headaches; shortness of breath; anxiety, nervousness; fear and worry; hypertension (elevation of blood pressure); stress to children; irritability; hysteria; embarrassment, humiliation; indignation; pain and suffering.

If you suffer from one or more of these conditions as a result of a creditor or debt collector violating your legal rights, you may be entitled to a substantial monetary award for your physical, mental and psychological injuries.

2. Monetary damages. These include monetary losses due to payment of a debt that was not owed; intimidating a debtor to return property in violation of the FDCPA; and attorney's fees to defend against lawsuits that violate the FDCPA.
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