Ohio does not have a statute which provides consumers with a private cause of action against debt collectors. However, courts around Ohio have held that collection agencies can be sued for violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA).
A consumer only needs to prove that a debt collector committed an unfair, deceptive or unconscionable act or practice in order to be entitled to damages. If you are unsure of what to do, contact us today.
This law governs “consumer transactions” in Ohio. These courts have found that collection agencies are “suppliers” who are subject to the provisions of the CSPA, because they are “engaged in the business of effecting or soliciting consumer transactions.”
A consumer can recover three times the amount of his or her actual damages plus an amount not exceeding $5000 in noneconomic damages, plus attorneys’ fees.
The CSPA prohibits “suppliers” (in this case, the collection agencies) from committing unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices in connection with a consumer transaction (in this case, the collection of a consumer debt). While there are many specific actions listed in the CSPA which are considered to violate the law, a consumer really only needs to prove that a debt collector committed an unfair, deceptive or unconscionable act or practice in order to be entitled to damages.
Consumers who are victims of unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices can sue the supplier who committed the violation for any actual damages the consumer has suffered as a result of the conduct. In some instances (essentially situations where the Ohio legislature, courts and/or Attorney General have previously declared a certain act or practice to be in violation of the CSPA), a consumer can recover three times the amount of his or her actual damages plus an amount not exceeding $5000 in noneconomic damages. In addition, a court can award reasonable attorneys’ fees to a consumer who prevails on his or her CSPA claim.
If a collection agency has taken assignment of multiple accounts from different creditors but owed by the same debtor, it may consolidate them. However, if a debtor raises a good faith dispute concerning any account, the court shall separate each disputed account from the action and hear the disputed account on its own merits in a separate action.
The laws described on this page are set forth in full in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 1319, Section 1319.12 and Chapter 1345, Sections 1345.01-1345.13.
In addition to rules covering the actions of creditors and collection agencies under your state’s laws, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides rules protecting consumers from illegal actions of debt collectors, and it applies equally in every state. This means that even if your state laws cannot help you, the FDCPA applies in many more situations.
In fact, certain sections of the laws listed in the available download may have been redacted for brevity.
If you want to find out more about how these laws pertain to your specific situation, please call us at (877) 846-1209 for a free case review with an experienced consumer law attorney. If you prefer, fill out our free case review form and we will contact you.