What is an Example of a FDCPA Violation Involving a Recorded Phone Call?
FDCPA Claims Based on Recorded Phone Calls
As you may recall from our previous encounter with Mark Jones, he was able to legally record a telephone call from a debt collector. On that call, the debt collector called Mark a "deadbeat," used profanity, and threatened to have the sheriff arrest Mark if he did not immediately make a payment. This call contains two, and most likely, three violations of the FDCPA. The debt collector cannot threaten to have Mark arrested; our society did away with debtor's prisons centuries ago. The debt collector cannot lawfully insult Mark by calling him a deadbeat, and he absolutely cannot use profanity when talking to Mark.
Because Mark lawfully recorded the phone call and kept a log of the time, date, and individual calling him, he has valuable information to bring to his attorney. Mark's attorney sends a demand letter to the collection company and discloses the existence of the phone recording. His initial demand is for $50,000. Mark's attorney knows that because the collector's conduct was so egregious and because Mark has recorded the call, the case has a higher value; a jury is highly unlikely to find in the debt collector's favor when it hears the recording. The case ultimately settles for less than the attorney's original demand, but Mark walks away with a sizeable settlement payment thanks to his diligent documentation of the violation.