Judgment Issued Against Debt Collectors After Violating The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Debt collectors are still running rampant over people, like a freight train. Recently, the State of Indiana obtained a default judgment against New Britain Financial and its owner Nelson Macwan for violating Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. According to the complaint, New Britain threatened people with lawsuits, arrests, and liens without having the present right to do so. While the Indiana AG is attempting to collect some money from New Britain for consumers, people should know that they have individual rights to sue New Britain, directly under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDPCA”).
The default judgment against New Britain contains a long list of the names of people who were found to have been abused by the company and who are entitled to the return of the money that they paid to it. These very people, and potentially others who were contacted by New Britain, have the right to sue that company directly for refunds, plus damages, costs and attorneys fees.
According to Gary Nitzkin, an attorney with Credit Repair Lawyers of America “These same people, whose names are listed in the default judgment, have FDCPA claims against New Britain. They are entitled to the return of their money, plus damages, costs and attorney’s fees.” The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that protects consumers from unscrupulous debt collectors. It contains a non-exhaustive list of things that debt collectors cannot do as well as things that they must do. Nitzkin further added “Unfortunately, the FDCPA has a very short 1-year statute of limitations. So, if any one who has been abused by New Britain does not sue within 1 year from the date that they were last harassed by this company, they will be out of luck as far as their FDCPA claims go.”
Under the law, debt collectors may not threaten action for which they do not have the present right nor intention to take. In this case, New Britain threatened people with garnishments when they did not have a judgment. This is a clear violation of the law.
In a successful action against a debt collector under the FDCPA, a consumer is entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 plus actual damages which can include mental anguish, costs of the action and attorneys’ fees. According to Attorney Nitzkin, “The nice thing about this law is it gives consumers the right to pursue debt collectors and make the debt collectors pay for the consumers’ attorney. We have successfully pursued many of these cases against debt collectors. You would be astounded at the kinds of things we have sued debt collectors for. We had one case where a debt collector friended the consumer on Facebook and then contacted her friends and told them about the debt. Many debt collectors are just out of control today.”