How to File Your Complaint Online With the FTC


If you do not want to use a lawyer to file a private case against a debt collector who violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can always file a a complaint with the FCC. There are several ways to submit a FDCPA complaint, but if you can read this blog post, then the easiest way for you to file a charge with the FTC is online at this website:

On the other hand, if you want to take the debt collector to court, contact a lawyer familiar with the FDCPA. In California, you can contact us here. Walsh & Walsh, P.C., Orange County FDCPA debt collection attorneys.
By Michael J. Walsh

FTC Shuts Down Debt Collector for Alleged FDCPA Violations


A U.S. district court shut down a Houston-based debt collection operation that allegedly illegally used insults, lies, and false threats to collect on payday loans – including telling a Virginia woman that she would be arrested and jailed for three years, and would lose her disability payments if she did not pay a $980 debt.

The court also froze the collection agency’s assets. The FTC complaint alleged multiple violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including:

  • falsely representing that Goldman Schwartz is a law firm and owner Gerald Wright is an attorney named Barry Schwartz.
  • falsely claiming that consumers have committed crimes by not paying their debts, will be arrested or jailed, and will lose custody of their minor children.
  • falsely claiming to be affiliated with or work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies.
  • harassing and abusing consumers by using obscene or profane language, calling repeatedly or continuously, and calling late in the evening or early in the morning.
  • adding unauthorized late fees and attorney’s fees to the amount consumers owe on their debts, and
  • failing to inform consumers of their rights to dispute the debts, have the debts verified, and obtain the names of the original creditors.

If any of these things are happening to you, contact the FTC or a local FDCPA attorney to file a private action and recover damages. If you live in California and would like a free evaluation of your case, contact us here.

Thirteen Things a Debt Collector Won’t Tell You


If you like those Reader’s Digest “things your __ won’t tell you” lists, here’s one about debt collectors: Debt collectors and former debt collection agency employees offer up an inside look at what its like to collect your dues. Numbers 8, 10 and 13 relate to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Thirteen Kinds of Income Debt Collectors Can’t Garnish or Threaten to Garnish


One of the things a debt collector covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cannot do is threaten to take actions it does not intend to do, or is not permitted to do. One thing debt collectors frequently threaten to do is garnish your income. However, several kinds of income cannot be garnished, and a debt collector cannot threaten to garnish these:

  1. Social Security Benefits
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
  3. Veterans’ Benefits
  4. Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
  5. Service Members’ Pay
  6. Military Annuities and Survivors’ Benefits
  7. Student Assistance
  8. Railroad Retirement Benefits
  9. Merchant Seamen Wages
  10. Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Death and Disability Benefits
  11. Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits
  12. Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors Outside the U.S.
  13. Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance

If debt collectors call you and threatens to garnish your social security check if you don’t pay the debt, they’ve broken the law.

If a debt collector is hounding and harassing you and breaking the law, contact a lawyer. If you or the debt collector are in California and you want to talk to us, drop us a note here.
Walsh & Walsh, P.C., Orange County FDCPA debt collection attorneys.
By Michael J. Walsh

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Basics


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p was enacted to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors, to insure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to promote consistent state action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.

Even if you owe the money, debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you or any third parties they contact.

Some examples of prohibited behavior include:
• use of threats of violence or harm
• publishing lists people who haven’t paid their debts
• using profanity or other obscene language
• repeatedly using the phone to annoy the debtor
• giving false credit information about a debtor to anyone, including a credit reporting agency
• sending a debtor anything that falsely appears to be or resembles an official notice from a court or government agency
• using a false company name
• demanding interest, surcharges, legal fees or collection fees that have not been agreed to, incurred or are not permitted under state or federal law
• depositing a post-dated check early
• taking or threatening to take property that cannot legally be taken
• contacting a debtor by postcard
• lying about anything

Some false statements that debt collectors often make when pursuing a debtor include:
• falsely claiming they are attorneys or they are with a government agency
• falsely claiming that the debtor has committed a crime or can be arrested
• falsely representing that they operate or work for a credit reporting company
• misrepresenting the amount the debtor owes, including adding surcharges, legal fees or collection fees
• claiming that papers they sent the debtor are legal forms when they are not
• claiming that papers they sent the debtor are not legal forms when they are
• threatening to take any action, such as seizure of property, that they cannot or do not intend to do
• threatening to garnish income that is not subject to garnishment
• threatening to sue a debtor for a debt that is not owed, or is too old to collect

A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, e-mail, telephone, telegram or fax, but not with such frequency that it can be considered harassing. A debt collector may not contact you at work if they know your employer does not disapprove, nor may they contact you at unreasonable times, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or places, such as your workplace, school or social gatherings.

You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter demanding that they stop. Once the agency receives it, they may cannot make any more contact except to acknowledge receipt of your demand and advise you that they will cease contacting you, or to notify you of a specific action contemplated by the creditor.

If you are being harassed by a debt collector, whether or not the debt is legitimate, you have rights. If the debt collector violates those rights, you may be entitled to actual damages caused by the harassment, plus up to $1,000 in statutory penalties. In addition, if you succeed against the debt collector in court as to the harassment issue, you can make the debt collector pay your attorney’s fees.

If a debt collector is hounding and harassing you and breaking the law, contact a lawyer. If you or the debt collector are in California and you want to talk to us, drop us a note here.
Walsh & Walsh, P.C., Orange County FDCPA debt collection attorneys.
By Mark A. Walsh