FDCPA Violations

Illegal Garnishment? You Can Sue.

by Benjamin Tarshish on January 14, 2019

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for a debt collector to garnish a paycheck or bank account without following proper garnishment procedure. Cases of wrongful garnishment may lead to the offender being required to pay thousands of dollars in damages and attorney fees to the wrongfully garnished individual. Here are some scenarios that a creditor might take leading to wrongful garnishment.

A Settled Debt

If the consumer reaches a settlement agreement with the creditor, and the creditor proceeds to nonetheless garnish the consumer, this is likely a violation of the FDCPA. A settlement would typically include a provision stating that as long as the consumer fulfills the settlement agreement, the creditor will not take any additional collection action against the consumer. In these types of settlements, further wage garnishment can constitute an FDCPA violation.

Vacated Judgement

Often times, a garnishment will take place after a court judgement. If the court judgement is later vacated, or voided, then the debt collector subsequently loses the ability to garnish the consumer. Any garnishment action taken after the vacated judgement is likely an FDCPA violation.

Pre-judgement Garnishment

In the state of Minnesota, a collector is allowed to garnish someone’s wages or bank account prior to receiving a court judgement. In order to do this, the debt collector must adhere to the following procedure:

  1. The collector serves the consumer with a debt collection lawsuit.
  2. If the consumer fails to respond to the lawsuit within twenty days, the debt collector then sends the consumer a “Notice of Intent to Garnish.”
  3. If the consumer fails to respond to the “Notice of Intent to Garnish” within twenty five days, the collector may proceed with a garnishment.

If any of these steps are missed, then the collector has likely committed a wrongful garnishment and thus violated the FDCPA. For example, if the creditor garnishes without sending the “Notice of Intent to Garnish,” or garnishes despite the fact that the consumer responded to the lawsuit within twenty days, they would be in violation of the FDCPA.

Exempt Funds Garnishment

Under Minnesota law, specific types of funds are exempt from garnishment. For example, forms of government assistance including disability payments and social security payments are protected by Minnesota law. If a collector knowingly garnishes a bank account that exclusively contains these funds, this may be in violation of the FDCPA.

How We Can Help

Tarshish Cody PLC defends consumers from wrongful garnishment and our attorneys are experienced in protecting your legal rights. The attorneys at Tarshish Cody PLC have filed many lawsuits against debt collectors who fail to follow proper garnishment procedure and are in violation of the FDCPA. Our clients have been awarded millions of dollars via FDCPA lawsuits. If you are being wrongfully garnished, the debt collector may be required to pay you thousands of dollars in damages plus your attorney fees.

Please call 952-361-5556 now or fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form and one of our attorneys handling Wrongful Garnishment can evaluate your case.

How to Tell If a Debt Collector Violates the FDCPA

by Benjamin Tarshish on October 5, 2016

There are many ways that a debt collector can violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In this post, we are first going to review some basic guidelines for determining if a debt collector violates the FDCPA, and then go over some more specific examples of violations.

The FDCPA states that debt collectors are not allowed to do anything that is considered unfair, untrue, or harassing/abusive. The first thing to consider is whether or not the debt collector did anything that would fall into any of these three categories. If so, then it is likely that the collector violated the FDCPA and you should contact a consumer protection attorney.

Examples of Specific Acts That Violate the FDCPA

If a debt collector does any one of the following, they are in violation of the FDCPA:

  1. Tells you to pay more than you actually owe
  2. Asks you to pay additional fees beyond your original loan agreement
  3. Calls you nonstop
  4. Uses offensive or inappropriate language
  5. Calls you before 8am or after 9pm
  6. Calls you when they know (or should be expected to know) are inconvenient times for you
  7. Uses violence or threatens to use violence
  8. Threatens to take action against you if they legally cannot take the threatened action, or do not actually intend to take that action.
  9. Informs a third party about your supposed debt (except your attorney, spouse, the creditor, creditor’s attorney, a credit reporting agency, or your parent if you are a minor)
  10. Calls a third party more than once in order to obtain your location
  11. Contacts you at work after you have informed the collector that your employer doesn’t allow these calls
  12. Fails to send a debt validation notice in writing

What To Do If a Debt Collector Has Done These Things

The above examples are just some of the things that a debt collector could do which are violations under the FDCPA. If you are experiencing unlawful debt collector harassment, you may have claims against the collection agency. You may be entitled to more compensation than you are currently being offered by the debt collector for their FDCPA violation, if you are even being offered anything at all. For a better understanding of the damages you may be entitled to and a Free Case Evaluation, please contact our consumer protection attorneys now at 952-361-5556 or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.

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