The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, addresses the venues in which a collector may file suit against you, and if the collector has the legal authority to sue you, the FDCPA at section “i” proscribes the locations he may do so. For example, the collector can’t sue you in a county other than the one where you live, except if the action is one for real property (e.g., you purchased a house in one county, and later moved to another) or if he is suing you in the county where you actually signed the contract.
If the debt collector violates your rights under this section, or any other FDCPA section, you can receive a monetary award even where you suffer no harm. The debt collector also has to pay your attorney fees, meaning you can usually enforce your FDCPA rights at no cost to you. So anytime you hear from a debt collector or see one on your credit report have the collection account reviewed by an experienced Fair Debt attorney, your money is too important to just guess as to whether your rights have been violated.
And even if the FDCPA doesn’t apply or wasn’t violated for one reason for another, the collector or someone else in the account chain may have violated other rights of yours, for example, they could be improperly credit reporting in violation of the FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT. Things like collection letters, collection voice mails, collection call logs, and detailed notes of conversations with collectors, as well as credit report entries showing collector pulls and reporting, can each form powerful evidence in the fight against debt collection and help you to level the playing field.
15 USC § 1692i(a) Venue
Any debt collector who brings any legal action on a debt against any consumer shall—
(1) in the case of an action to enforce an interest in real property securing the consumer’s obligation, bring such action only in a judicial district or similar legal entity in which such real property is located; or
(2) in the case of an action not described in paragraph (1), bring such action only in the judicial district or similar legal entity—
(A) in which such consumer signed the contract sued upon; or
(B) in which such consumer resides at the commencement of the action.
The creditor in the contract establishing the debt cannot select the forum for a debt collection lawsuit suit.
15 USC § 1692i(b)Authorization of actions
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize the bringing of legal actions by debt collectors.
That the FDCPA proscribed rules for lawsuits doesn’t mean a collector can bring one, unless it otherwise has the right to do so.
(Pub. L. 90–321, title VIII, § 811, as added Pub. L. 95–109, Sept. 20, 1977, 91 Stat. 880.)