Last winter eGeneration rolled out its latest lead product, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) case leads. Over the past year we have looked at ways to maximize success with these leads, but a lot of attorneys find that FDCPA cases are difficult to retain in general. Through educating consumers and using intelligent marketing tactics, FDCPA case leads can be exceptionally profitable.
Is There a Real Potential with FDCPA Case Leads?
Many attorneys have trouble finding viable FDCPA violations. Consumers often think that payday loans fall under the FDCPA. They are unaware that if the payday lender was the original creditor, any type of debt collection is completely legal and does not fall under the FDCPA. This confusion by consumers often leads them to seek legal help in a situation where there is nothing to be gained.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers can file suit under the FDCPA for a number of different infractions that fall under different categories, which include:
- “Acquisition of location information” – This section requires that collectors follow certain guidelines when attempting to find out where a debtor is located. Many consumers do not realize that a debt collector cannot identify itself to a third-party.1
- “Communication in connection with debt collection” – Section 805 of the FDCPA regulates when, where, and how a collector can collect a debt, such as not calling consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.1
- “Harassment or abuse” – Refers to the manner in which a collector may attempt to collect a debt. Some of the more notable penalized methods are threatening violence, using obscene language, and calling a debtor, “with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass […]”1
- “False or misleading representations” – It is not permitted for a party trying to collect a debt to deceive a debtor or a party connected to the debt, of who they are.1
As an attorney you are familiar with the sections outlined above, but the reality is that many consumers across the country do not know exactly what constitutes a violation. This is why it is important to cast a wide net with your marketing and advertising initiatives. You want to find as many people as possible who believe they experienced an FDCPA violation to boost your chances of finding a qualifying case.
Common methods of finding legal cases include, but are not limited to:
- Outdoor advertising (billboards). More people will see billboards than any other method of advertisement, but it relies heavily on visuals. There is also no way to describe what constitutes an FDCPA violation with just a billboard.
- Television. A TV ad can be very expensive, but also very effective if you can reach the right audience. Broadcast television will cost astronomically more than cable, but you will be able to target consumers who are more likely to face FDCPA violations depending on which network they’re watching.
- Third-party legal lead generation. This is where you purchase case leads from a third party that has already used pay-per-click campaigns or other methods to find consumers who wish to file an FDCPA claim. It is more expensive to buy a case lead from a third party, but you save the costs of building and maintaining a lead generation website, as well as eliminating the cost of hiring additional staff for marketing campaigns.
Do These Dollars Make Sense?
With all lead types, we encourage our clients to look at their success with a campaign based off of a “cost-per-case” metric. Essentially, this is the total amount you spend on a campaign, divided by the cases you ultimately retain as a result of a marketing service. This cost-per-case metric can then be compared with the monetary return that your office sees from a certain case. For instance, the maximum reward for a Social Security disability case is $6,000. Even though not every successful case will have a high payout, a Social Security attorney or advocate has a general idea of the monetary reward they will see from a case.
A successfully litigated FDCPA case has no maximum payout for an attorney. Below are a few snippets from notable cases and rewards that have occurred since the inception of the FDCPA:
“The judge ruled against the bank in October , and last week dismissed the bank's attempt to set aside the default judgment. B of A declined to comment. The Coniglios won a judgment of $1,051,000 — about $1,500 for each of the 700 calls made to their cellphones.”
Tampa Bay Times2
“A jury was subsequently asked to make a decision on damages, and last week they came down hard on Portfolio Recovery. The $252,000 was awarded to the woman for the company’s violations of the FDCPA, while the $82.9 million was for malicious prosecution. That figure represents around half of the company’s net income for 2014. If that verdict is upheld, the woman (and her attorneys) would receive half while the other half would go to the Missouri attorney general’s office to set up a victims’ compensation fund.”
Imagine spending $3,000 on a lead campaign with eGeneration and coming across a case that generated a million dollar settlement. Even though this will not be the norm with FDCPA violations, the possibility of hitting that that “slam dunk” case is still a tantalizing prospect for any attorney.
If you would be interested in learning more about the FDCPA leads we generate across the country, give us a call.
2 Thalji, J. (2014, December 9). Bank of America ordered to pay Tampa family $1 million for harassing calls. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/banking/bank-of-american-ordered-to-pay-tampa-family-1-million-for-harassing-calls/2209617
3Morran, C. (2015, May 19). Jury Hits Debt Collector With $83 Million Verdict Over Bogus $1,130 Debt. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from http://consumerist.com/2015/05/19/jury-hits-debt-collector-with-83-million-verdict-over-bogus-1130-debt/