Unfair and Abusive

Debt Collection Practices

Debt collection is a massive, $11.5 billion dollar industry that employs over 118,000 individuals across approximately 7,700 collection agencies.[1]  Each day, countless individuals across the county are contacted by collection agencies and law firms attempting to collect a debt.  According to a recent report by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Fair Trade Commission, almost 30% of consumers with a credit history have a debt that a third party is attempting to collect.[2]

Abusive, unfair, and in many instances illegal debt collection activity is unfortunately very common.  In 2018 alone, for example, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection received approximately 81,500 debt collection complaints.[3]  These aggressive (and sometimes illegal) debt collection practices unfairly push consumers and their families into poverty. 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, referred to as the FDCPA, protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors.  A “debt collector” under the FDCPA refers to someone (such as a debt collection agency or attorney) who is engaged in the business of collecting or attempting to collect debts owed to another person.   The FDCPA does not apply to your original creditor (or its employees).

 Among other things, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from:

  • Contacting you at an “unusual” time or place. 

  • Contacting your employer when the collector knows that your work does not allow these communications.

  • Continuing to contact you after you have given written notice that you wish to be left alone. 

  • Engaging in other harassing, oppressive, or abusive tactics, including but not limited to threatening you, using obscene or profane language, publishing consumers who refuse to pay debts, repeatedly calling you, and calling you without meaningfully disclosing the caller’s identity. 

  • Using a false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of a debt.

  • Using various unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt.

Additionally, in California the Rosenthal Act (Cal. Civ. Code § 1788) requires most original creditors (not just collection agencies and collection attorneys hired to collect debts owed to someone else) to comply with most provisions of FDCPA when attempting to collect a consumer debt and provides additional protections for consumers.

If you have been contacted by a debt collector, you should not ignore it.  You have a right to dispute the debt, and you may also be entitled to compensation if the debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA and/or the Rosenthal Act.

If you have been sued by a debt collector, you may have strong defenses and/or counterclaims that could lead to reduction or elimination of the debt, or, in some cases, an award in your favor and against the debt collector or creditor.


Debt collectors often profit unfairly from unrepresented litigants who may not know their rights. Do not let this happen to you.  Contact the Sequoia Law Firm for a 30-minute consultation free of charge.  We offer flexible pricing and payment plans to suit each client’s specific needs.






[1], at p. 8

[2] Id. 

[3] Id. at p. 15.