If a debt collector violates the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it won’t eliminate the debt you owe. But the violation may:
When you incur a debt, you generally have a contractual obligation to pay it back. If you don’t pay back the debt, the creditor may use a debt collector to collect the debt from you. (Learn about the difference between a debt collector and a creditor.)
The FDCPA protects borrowers from debt collectors that use abusive or unfair collection practices. But it doesn’t affect your contractual obligations to the creditor. This means that an FDCPA violation won’t eliminate the debt you owe. But it can entitle you to other remedies.
If a debt collector violates your rights under the FDCPA, you can:
(Learn more about what you can do if a debt collector violates the FDCPA.)
While an FDCPA violation won’t get rid of the underlying debt you owe, it may entitle you to:
(Learn more about FDCPA violation remedies.)
Because defending an FDCPA lawsuit can be costly and subject the debt collector to possible damages, an FDCPA violation can provide you with leverage if you want to settle your debt. The debt collector may agree to settle the debt on terms favorable to you in exchange for your agreement not to pursue the FDCPA violation in court. In general, the stronger your case, the more leverage you will have in your settlement negotiations.