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Consumer Sues Department Store Over $20 Debt

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2014 | Consumer Protection

When you think about cases under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), the statute
enacted to protect consumers from
violations occurring when attempting to collect a debt, you
most likely think about situations when a collector is calling to
collect a debt you do not actually owe.  However, the reality
is the FDCPA and the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) will also protect you even
when you do owe a debt.  These laws still apply in cases when
your debt is legitimate and collectors and business must comply
with the law even when you owe them money.

Proving this theory true, a woman is suing a local department
store for a debt that she does not dispute is legitimate and only
amounts to $20!  In her Federal complaint, this consumer
alleges that the department store retailer violated the TCPA and
potentially the FDCPA when it called her as many as 22 times in a
single week, even after she asked the retailer to stop.  And
if this consumer is successful, she could recover as much as $1,500
per phone call received from the department store.

In late 2013, the consumer alleged that a representative from
well-known department store began calling her to collect a $20 debt
she held on her store credit card.  When the calls started to
come more frequently, she asked the caller to cease all
communication.  Instead of the calling ending, she states the
calls only got worse.  The consumer alleged that she received
over 20 phone calls from a representative of the store in a one
week period.  The consumer states that she never gave the
store permission to use a robo-calling system when contacting her,
which is a violation under the TCPA.  Under the TCPA, a
business is prohibited from contacting a consumer using robo-calls
unless given express permission, and if a consumer is able to prove
the business knowingly used robo-calling when communicating with
the consumer, the business could be liable for up to $1,500 per

Furthermore, the consumer complains that some of the collection
calls were placed before
8:00 a.m. and some after 9:00 p.m., conduct that is prohibited
under the FDCPA.  Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is
restricted from contacting a debtor outside of these hours.
However, the consumer would only have a viable claim under the FCPA
if she is able to prove that the party contacting her was a third
party debt collector or someone hired to collect the debt on behalf
of the department store.

The bottom line is, consumers need to know their rights under
the laws enacted to protect them, 20 plus calls in a week may not
raise a red flag to the average consumer that a company has
violated the law, but there are laws in place to protect consumers
from this type of conduct.

If you believe your rights have been violated under the TCPA or
the FDCPA contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely
free case review.