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Total loss in small claims, even with Rosenthal and FDCPA violations

New Member

Total loss in small claims, even with Rosenthal and FDCPA violations

Long time reader but I think this is my first time posting.

I just came from a small claims hearing in California where the OC sued me after charging off the account. Their paperwork had conflicting dates and past due amounts, they did not send me any kind of demand letter, and they revealed information about my debt to my employer during process of service. Despite all this, and despite requesting a continuance from the judge so that i might obtain legal advice to better understand my rights and make sure that i was not losing my rights, i lost the case and a judgement was entered against me. The judge did not care at all about any point i brought forward. I can now choose to face their attorneys on appeal or I can cut my losses and pay a debt that I don't understand or agree with. Or I can have my wages garnished. Any way it rolls, i am screwed.

I contacted 5 debt collection and bankruptcy attorneys about the Rosenthal/FDCPA violations and no one was willing to consider taking the case. They did not think that 6-8 calls a week was actionable, nor did they believe that the revealing of information about my debt to my employer was actionable, despite my loss of reputation and whatever other consequences I'll face at my job because of it.

I wanted to share this story because despite the numerous instances of very helpful people on these forums saying that you can defend yourselves against Rosenthal or FDCPA violations or hold creditor accountable to those laws, it just doesn't work like that. Id recommend that if commentors are going to hold tight to believing that a violation of the law will actually result in some kind of justice for the debtor, then please please post some case law or studies or something. At this point I find it very difficult to believe that anyone ever has been able to use those violations to help them dismiss or win a case. Unless of course youre represented by a lawyer in a class action.
Message 1 of 4
Legendary Contributor

Re: Total loss in small claims, even with Rosenthal and FDCPA violations

I obviously cannot speak as to the court's award of a judgment under your circumstances other than to advise that you have the right to appeal the judgment.  It is not final until the appeal period has expired.


As for FDCPA violations, it is a clear violation for a debt collector to disclose the fact that you owe a debt to any third party.

Third parties may only be contacted to attempt to obtain the location of a consumer, and may not, in that contact, inform the party that the consumer is alleged to owe any debt.  See FDCPA 804 and 805.

Violations of the FDCPA normally do not need an attorney to pursue, as the FDCPA provides for statutory violations, meaning one need only show that they have technically violated some provision of the statute.  No showing of intent, willful or negligent, is required.

Message 2 of 4
Valued Contributor

Re: Total loss in small claims, even with Rosenthal and FDCPA violations

 Nobody here (unless they are a lawyer and were in the court with you) can tell you what the Judge was thinking, though.  Small claims judges are like little kings.  Some are friendly to the defendant, some are friendly to the plaintiff.  Were you able to provide a sworn statement from whoever they told about the debt?  Since this was the OC, was there a reason you elected not to demand arbitration?


 I'm not trying to critisize, I'm just curious as to the process you went through and what the judge saw.  Its frustrating to hear when a judge seems to ignore your arguments, even if he denies them.


 Only you can decide it its worth the time and potential expense of appealing.  Many people have successfully gotten awards for FDCPA violations without the help of a lawyer.  However, because they allegedly violated the FDCPA, doesn't meant the debt itself isn't valid.

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Message 3 of 4
Established Contributor

Re: Total loss in small claims, even with Rosenthal and FDCPA violations

6-8 calls a week, in of itself is not actionable.  I did debt collection for a while, and we legally would call some people 6-8 times in a single day. We "weren't sure what the best time to reach the customer was, and as they did not answer, we assumed they were not home." 


The cuttoff was that if a person answered, or if we left a voicemail, that would be our final call for the day. Or if we recieved, in writing, notice informing us of the best time to reach them, we would not call outside of that time period.


But that has nothing to do with your alleged debt.


Conflicting dates and conflicting past due amounts. To this subject, I can only beg for more information. Did the judgement go for the lesser of the 2 amounts? Also, I'm suprised you did not get a continuance. Did the judge give a reason why?

Message 4 of 4
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