How-to-Sue-Harassing-Debt-Collectors-for-Breaking-the-FDCPA-Rules-Part-2-1024x552.jpg (1024×552)Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on all the rules written by the FDCPA to stop debt collectors from ruining people’s lives with dirty tactics. Every one of these rules was written to protect you and others like you from harassment and you have the legal right to defend yourself. If a debt collector has broken even one of these rules, you have grounds to sue. Last time we covered everything from daylight call times to abusive language. Let’s pick back up where we left off at financial privacy.

Talking to Anyone Other Than You, Your Spouse, or Your Attorney

Debt collectors are not allowed to approach your friends, coworkers, employees, children, or parent except to politely ask for your contact information. They are not allowed to speak in detail to anyone who does not legally represent you personally which means no one but you, your legal spouse, and your hired attorney. If they do, they have violated your privacy and the FDCPA at the same time and can be brought to heel.

Contacting Through Public Media

Sometimes they will try to get around the ‘contact only you’ rule by calling you at work or posting their messages in a public forum like your social media page. The regulations have adapted to this underhanded tactic to embarrass debt collection targets and now this method is not allowed either.

Falsifying Your Credit Report

Debt collectors have a certain amount of access to your credit report in terms of submitting the facts about your current debts. However, some have tried to literally financially cripple their targets by artificially lowering their credit scores with false or inflated debt reports. This is very very illegal.

Contacting You If…

There are also a number of circumstances in which debt collectors have to stop contacting you entirely. Knowing what they are can either save you weeks of harassing phone calls or provide you more than enough proof to sue the debt collectors for FDCPA violations and harassment.

Your employer has prohibited calls at work

Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at work if your employer has prohibited it. You are allowed to ask your employer to deliver the prohibition.

You have said that you don’t intend to pay the debt

There is only one reason for debt collectors to call you, to get you to pay the debt. If you clearly and unmistakably say that you don’t intend to, they have to stop calling and their only remaining recourse is to sue you or not.

You have demanded debt verification and have not yet received it

Debt verification is when you demand to see proof that the debt being collected exists and is the legitimate amount and has been legally sold to the collection agency. They have 30 days to provide this information and between your demand and getting the verification, they cannot call you.

You have requested to no longer be contacted

You don’t actually have to resolve the debt issue to stop being contacted alltogether. All you have to do is request that they never contact you again. While the debt collectors still have a few other ways to try and make collections, this should prevent them from calling or emailing. Make sure you have proof that you requested that they stop so that when they don’t, you can use it in court.

You have declared bankruptcy

Finally, if you have legally declared that you have no money to pay debts with, all debtors have to quit and go home including debt collectors. If they don’t quit at that point, they also don’t understand the phrase “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip” and you can sue them.

Suing Your Debt Collectors

Now comes the best part. If you have managed to collect several points of proof that the debt collectors harassing you have broken the rules of the FDCPA, you can sue them before they get the chance to sue you. Many people who have been through the harrowing experience of repeated calls, attempts to embarrass, and credit score destruction are eager for a chance to hit back at bullies who specialize in kicking people when they’re financially down.

Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we specialize in exactly the opposite: Defending normal people from employers, consumer fraud, and abusive debt collection agencies. If you need help defending your financial and employment rights from harassing debt collectors, contact us today. We’re here to help.

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986