Definition: Bona Fide Error under the FDCPA


A bona fide error is where the debt collector says in their affirmative defenses, “Yes, we went against the FDCPA but we should be excused and not be responsible.”

Why is that?

They’ll say, “Because we have procedures set in place to prevent this exact problem from happening, even though it did happen.”

You’d think they would use that defense every time, and it has been used in cases.

However, the smart defense lawyers will rarely use bona fide error, because they have to admit that the debt collector¬†they’re representing broke the law, and they have to admit that to a jury.

Debt collectors hate to admit this.

They would rather fight about this than admit they’re wrong.

Even if this is a legitimate defense, they have to prove it.

They have to prove that they have the procedures, and that they enforce these procedures.

And not just generic procedures that say, “Don’t break the law” but instead very specific procedures that are designed to prevent the exact type of violation they are sued on.

Generally, companies have generic (not specific) procedures, and they rarely enforce them.

We also have to see what they do when these procedures are violated, and what they do with workers who disregard these rules.

Here’s the bottom line — debt collectors often violate the law (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and this excuse of “Bona Fide Error” very rarely gets them out of the hot water they got themselves into.

Contact Us if you have a question about how a debt collector has treated you.

If you have any questions and you live in Alabama, you can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.

You can also fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

I look forward to speaking with you!

Have a great day.

-John G. Watts

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