Recently, I wrote about the flood of lawsuits from creditors seeking payment on debts, often with little or no proof that the debt is even owed.
The other side of the coin, highlighted by this article, shows that debtors are increasingly fighting back against collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA prohibits collectors from making threats against, harassing, and using obscenities against debtors, among other things. The FDCPA provides fines of up to $1,000 per lawsuit and requires collectors to pay debtors’ attorneys’ fees.
Although collectors usually win lawsuits when they sue debtors for the debt, debtors are now winning multitudes of cases when they fight back against the collectors’ tactics. In the past 10 years, federal lawsuits by debtors against collectors have increased 700 percent. About 30 percent of debtors who sue a collector will sue again at some point, and at least 80 debtors have sued collectors more than 10 times. Collectors often settle quickly when debtors sue.
In fact, lawsuits against collectors have increased so much that one Minnesota attorney has begun holding boot camps at which he trains other attorneys on how to sue debt collectors on behalf of debtors. This recent flood of lawsuits has prompted collectors to complain that the suits debtors are filing against them are very light on details of the FDCPA violations, which is very similar to the complaints debtors have about creditors filing suits against them with little or no substantiation of the debt.