In a Green Tree Class Action Lawsuit, a person who has been a victim of phone harassment or other types of real time resolutions is seeking damages in Federal Court from the entity that is responsible. The defendant in this case is a telecommunication company that is responsible for repeatedly calling the plaintiff with annoying or insulting phone calls. This constant phone harassment caused the plaintiff to experience chronic pain and suffered a loss of income. The court held that the defendant, AT&T, was liable for this breach of contract and sought monetary damages for the mental and emotional anguish suffered.
Recently, the defendant attempted to argue that the claims made in the Green Tree Class Action Lawsuit were barred by the First Amendment because they violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. This argument is legally problematic at its core because no one can argue that an agreement or contract is inherently defective or void because of a prior contract or agreement. The concept that a company can be held liable for continuing telephone harassment even after a properly signed and accepted binding agreement is simply not a practical holding in today’s society. There is absolutely no reason to deny a consumer the right to seek monetary damages for the mental and emotional distress that they have been forced to endure. Even more troubling is the fact that AT&T continues to take advantage of people by continually calling them on their cell phones, sending junk mail to their homes, and generally trying to pressure them into settling their debts without providing any meaningful or useful alternatives.
Many people are not aware that federal law does not allow debt collectors to call you at work or using your cellular phone to communicate with you when you are trying to settle your debts. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, all collectors are prohibited from contacting you by phone or using any means that would result in communication only through a third party. This includes all parties that you have signed a “real time resolution” agreement with such as credit card companies, electric companies, and mortgage companies. It also includes all messages left on your cellular phone by third parties, including bill collectors.
There are many reasons that you should be concerned about this, but the most important one has to do with the recent Supreme Court decision in American Consumer Law v. Max Kline. The court decided that the original approval of the debt collection practice, which permitted debt collectors to harass consumers based on their refusal to pay on unsecured credit card bills, was unconstitutional and a violation of the first amendment. The ruling clearly stated that the first amendment protects the right of an individual to speak out against oppressive and abusive actions by debt collectors.
The problem is that because the law has been amended, it is currently illegal for debt collectors to use harassing phone calls or stalk you on the telephone. This means that if you receive telephone harassment, or your home is invaded by someone calling because they are worried that you might not pay off your debt, you do not have the right to file a lawsuit or take any other action. The new version of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which was passed by the Supreme Court last June provides no protection to consumers who are harassed by debt collectors. In fact, the courts have been unable to recognize a right to sue debt collectors under federal law, as the law now requires them to engage in ‘uniform’ practices with all individuals they collect from. Because many people are intimidated by debt collectors, there is a good chance that you will need to hire a lawyer to represent you in a Green Tree Class Action Lawsuit.
There are many websites that will give you a free quote for a FDCPA suit, and they can also tell you whether or not you are a victim of phone harassment. Most lawyers who represent consumers who are victims of FDCPA violations do not take this lightly, as the use of phone calls to collect money has led to some very unfortunate scenarios. If you do feel that you are a victim, it is imperative that you take immediate action in order to protect your rights and collect money from the entities responsible. You will not only be able to receive a substantial settlement for your situation, but also learn valuable lessons about your rights and what is expected of you when it comes to taking on debt collectors in real time solutions.