Are debt collectors charging you “junk” fees when trying to settle up past debts? The latest scam in the debt collector toolbox of scams is charging consumers “pay to pay” fees. You probably know these as convenience fee, which debt collectors often charge consumers for online or over the phone payments. You may be more familiar with convenience fees when buying tickets from Ticketmaster. The reason that convenience fees charged by debt collectors is different, and illegal, is because there is no authority to charge these fees. Certainly, if you do owe the debt, the original creditor you owe money to didn't have a provision in the contract allowing debt collectors to charge you a convenience fee if your account went into collections.
Federal law prevents debt collectors from charging fees that were not expressly authorized in the agreement creating the debt. This means that a debt collector charging a convenience fee, or other junk fee, is violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA gives consumers a strong tool to use to protect themselves against debt collectors. The FDCPA allows for the recovery of actual damages, statutory damages of up to $1,000, and attorney fees and costs. This means that you don't have to pay Florida Consumer Lawyers to represent you in a FDCPA case because the debt collector will pay the attorney fees and costs.